Local Syrian reacts to airstrike on Damascus

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Military leaders are still assessing the damage inflicted during Friday night’s airstrike on Damascus, Syria. Military forces from the United States, United Kingdom and France launched a targeted assault against targets connected to Syria’s chemical weapons program.

The airstrike was in response to last week’s chemical weapons attack, which the U.G. government and some of its allies believe was carried out by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Here in Indianapolis, local Syrians are reacting, many of whom still have loved ones living in Syria.

Francoise Mercho said he was at dinner when he heard about the airstrike. He was able to reach his family and is relieved that they are safe.

Mercho came to the U.S. from Syria in the late 1970s, but even now he’s got many family members still living in Syria, including some in Damascus.

“It is very scary,” said Mercho.

Mercho says he was out to dinner Friday night when a friend texted him about the attack that was happening on Syria. Once he got home, he was able to get ahold of his family in Syria.

“They heard it,” said Mercho, “they were scared.”

Since then, they’ve been updating him on what’s happening since the bombs fell last night.

“I’ve been talking with them and seeing their messages on Facebook,” said Mercho, “thank God they’re all safe.”

He said his family could hear and feel the explosions, along with the Syrian government’s efforts to respond.

“The Syrian government tried to defend and shoot at the missiles, but of course the technology is very different there,” said Mercho.

The airstrike, which the U.S. military says was precise and targeted, aimed to knock out the Syrian government’s ability to use chemical weapons. Despite Friday night’s small scale use of force, Mercho fears what might happen if the Assad government were to fall.

“Basically chaos will reign,” said Mercho, “and ISIS and al-Qaeda and the Islamic State will take over that country.”

In the meantime, he’s relieved his own family is safe and hopes the conflict will end soon.

“For the Syrian people, whether the government or rebels, war is never a solution,” said Mercho, “nobody wins in war.”

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