Tennessee lawmakers, Syrian native react to U.S. missile strike

April 7, 2017: Lawmakers and local residents are championing President Trump's strike against Syria, while expressing concern for what happens next.

Late Thursday night, the United States carried out a cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base in response to a chemical attack that killed at least 60 people earlier this week.

East Tennessee lawmakers and Yassin Terou, a Syrian native and owner of Yassin's Falafel House in downtown Knoxville, are generally pleased with the action.

"I'm nervous but yes, I support it. We need it," said Terou.

Terou described this week as more sad than "any other week." He thinks the U.S. missile strike is a "step in the right direction," but is also mourning the lives lost in the chemical attack.

READ: 'Reprehensible': World reacts to horror of Syrian gas attack that killed children

"It's more emotional because the people affected are the kids and Syrian people who have no reason to die. They have the right to be alive," said Terou.

For Terou, this missile strike shows people in the United States are finally paying attention to the situation in Syria.

"It should be a long time ago but we don't need to focus on why this not happen a long time ago, it's happening now. We need to focus what is our next step. What happened yesterday was just a start," said Terou.

READ: 'Just unbearable' Syrian native, activist respond to chemical attacks

While Terou is cautiously optimistic about the action, his nervousness comes from a fear that President Donald Trump does not have a well thought out plan. 

"We have to know what is next. It was not only yesterday," Terou said. 

U.S. Rep. Jimmy Duncan is fearful Trump will get the United States too involved in the Syrian conflict.

“While I do not think we should become entangled in another ground war in the Middle-East, his measured response was appropriate to send the message that the United States will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons to murder innocent civilians, especially children," Duncan said in a statement. "I do not think the President had much of a choice after we saw photos of children brutally killed by chemical weapons. I am confident that President Trump will not allow us to become bogged down in a multi-year, trillion dollar war in the Middle-East."

MORE: Tennesseans in Congress back military air strikes against Syria

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker praised Trump for the action.

"I applaud President Trump for taking decisive action following the latest chemical weapons attack. It is critical that Assad knows he will no longer enjoy impunity for his horrific crimes against his own citizens," Corker said in a statement. 

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander is also in support of the strike, but expressed a desire for Congress to be involved in any further military action. 

“The limited missile strike launched Thursday night against the air base in Syria was an appropriate immediate response to President Assad's use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people, including Syrian children," Alexander said in a statement. "Under our Constitution, the president should seek authorization from Congress for any further military action in Syria so that we can evaluate the long-term consequences of his plans and determine whether additional engagement would be in the vital national security interest of the United States.”


While Terou appreciates this show of force against what he calls the "crime-filled" Syrian government, he also wants Trump to show compassion to the people that government is hurting.

"If he really will help refugees to have a safe place to live, this crisis and the problem with refugees will slow down," Terou said. "At the same time, if you say to refugee's 'we don't want to take you' and close the door and say 'we don't want to help you in any way' we are asking you just to die and that's not the solution. You can't let someone die and let his children die without any help."

Terou doesn't agree with Trump's decisions often. But if given the chance, Terou would tell Trump, "I think your decision yesterday is a very good decision because you attacked the air base who was killing people, who was gassing people."

Terou is hopeful the president can focus his attacks on the Syrian government and create a safe zone to save civilians.

Terou ended his conversation with 10News by thanking U.S. troops.

"I want to tell him too we really love America and God bless the United State's Army," said Terou.

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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