Residents of the Syrian town still mourning their dead from a chemical attack welcomed the US strikes on a Syrian government airbase on Friday as a way to pressure Damascus.
“God bless Trump,” said Abu Ali, hours after the US launched a barrage of cruise missiles at the Shayrat base in Homs province. “God willing, these strikes will be a clear warning to Bashar Al Assad, to tell him: Bashar, enough killing and injustice against these people.”
The area hit in the attack remained deserted on Friday, after survivors moved to other parts of the rebel-held town in the north-western province of Idlib.
“They’re above us, threatening us again,” he said, as warplanes circled overhead on Friday, carrying out at least one strike outside the town.
“It doesn’t deliver even a small part of the justice the martyrs deserve,” added Abu Mohib, 37, an army officer who defected. “But it does lift the morale of the families of the dead.”
Since last year, rebel groups have suffered a series of defeats against pro-government forces backed by Russian air strikes and military support, and many in rebel-held territory expressed hope that US strikes could reverse the situation.
“We are grateful to the American air force and for the American response to the massacre in Khan Sheikhoun.” .
Khan Sheikhoun was the second deadliest chemical attack in the Syrian war, after a 2013 attack believed to have killed hundreds of people in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus.
In the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma, residents welcomed the strikes, but urged more military action.
“We hope that any foreign intervention would be an intervention to bring an end to the suffering of the Syrian people – not just a single hit followed by more crimes and killing,” said Abu Shahid, 30.
Others expressed hope that Washington could ground all Syrian government planes.
“In reality, Syrians don’t care about military strikes as much as they care about a no-fly zone for all aircraft,” said Hassan Taqiddin, 27.
“In the end, these strikes have very limited impact. They hit this airport, then what?”
“Part of the Syrian people has fled, part is buried underground, another part is out chasing humanitarian aid,” said Abu Ali in Khan Sheikhoun.
“We just want Trump and his administration to put an end to this farce.”