Strike against Syria draws mixed reactions

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Chicagoans had mixed reactions to the United States' strike against Syria. (WLS)

While a previous strike against Syria by the United States was supported, Friday's strike has been met with skepticism in the Chicago area.

In the Loop Saturday, a protest against the attack drew a small crowd on Wacker Drive across from Trump Tower.

The protestors said they feared the strike might be the beginning of wider military intervention in the region.

Many of the approximately 10,000 Syrians who live in the Chicago area were driven out of Syria by the Hafez al-Assad regime in the 1970s and 1980s.

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Politicians and cilivilians alike had mixed reactions to Friday's strike against Syria.



"We question the logic of President Trump....are we addressing the weapons being used or the crimes being committed?" said the Syrian American Council's Chicago chapter Hani Atassi. "Because women and children are dying every day. Whether from chemical weapons, starvation or barrel bombs."

Atassi said economic sanctions might be more helpful than air strikes. Some Syrians in Chicago support arming The Free Syrian Army, a rebel group.

Elsewhere, the response was more muted and mainly broke down along party lines.

U.S. Representative Peter Roskam, a Republican, praised Trump's action saying in a statement, "Assad must pay a price for ruthlessly slaughtering his own citizens with chemical weapons."

"The United States and our allies have to demonstrate that no one should be allowed to use chemical weapons," said Representative Brad Scheider, an Illinois Democrat. "We need a consistent message."

Others, like Northwestern University political scientists Ian Hurd, suggested that the limited strikes might be a political distraction for President Trump.

"I don't think anything that's happened in the last 48 hours is going to change the course of the war in Syria," Hurd said. "I think this has a lot more to do with Donald Trump's status, his low standing in the United States and his search to find some way to distract the conversation from his scandals."

Supporters of the strike said the decision could be on shaky legal ground because the president's authority under the Authority for Use of Military Force has not been updated since 2001.

Concerns have also been voiced about the escalation of a conflict and increased numbers of refugees.

Many of the approximately 10,000 Syrians who live in the Chicago area were driven out of Syria by the Hafez al-Assad regime in the 1970s and 1980s.

"We question the logic of President Trump....are we addressing the weapons being used or the crimes being committed?" said the Syrian American Council's Chicago chapter Hani Atassi. "Because women and children are dying every day. Whether from chemical weapons, starvation or barrel bombs."

Atassi said economic sanctions might be more helpful than air strikes. Some Syrians in Chicago support arming The Free Syrian Army, a rebel group.
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