Syrians in Vancouver react to U.S.-led airstrikes
Published Saturday, April 14, 2018 2:27PM PDT
Last Updated Saturday, April 14, 2018 2:28PM PDT
As Mohammed Alsaleh helped guide former Syrian refugees through the blood donation process at a clinic in Vancouver Saturday morning, discussions in the room often circled back to news of U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria the night before.
Alsaleh came to Canada as a refugee in 2014, and now works at a refugee sponsorship training program. Like many Syrian-Canadians, he's paying close attention to the developments in the country where he grew up.
"In my opinion, yesterday sent only one message to the Syrian government: you cannot use chemical weapons against Syrian children. But you can use conventional weapons," he said.
Alsaleh said he's disappointed with the lack of vision from the U.S. and its allies who planned the attack.
"It's only one strike. It did affect the capabilities of the Syrian regime, yes. But will it change the course of the conflict? I don't think so."
On Friday evening, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that his country along with France and Britain had launched coordinated military strikes against three targets in Syria.
The move came after the Syrian regime, led by President Bashar al-Assad, apparently used chemical weapons to attack civilians last week.
The U.S.-led missile attack was intended to pummel three chemical-related facilities in the country.
Back in the blood donation clinic, news of the airstrikes played on a muted TV above donors' heads as they waited to fill one unit of blood.
Thaaer Alibrahim said he thinks the U.S.-led attack is just for show. He's grateful, however, that no civilians were targeted.
"I feel good because the attack is just for places where the Assad regime has used to attack Syrian people," he said.
Another man, who did not want his name used for the safety of his family, said he thinks the attack is somewhat akin to a slap on the wrist. He said if the U.S. and its allies were serious about making a change, they could have interfered years ago.
The cross-Canada blood donation drive was planned before the airstrikes, with many recently arrived Syrian-Canadians wanting to give back after resettling.
Alsaleh said that although refugees may still be figuring things out, they can contribute in the meantime by donating blood.
"We believe that to give blood is to give life, and we want to give life to Canada that gave us life," he said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Allison Hurst