A survivor of a 2013 chemical-weapons attack by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad praised President Donald Trump on Friday for choosing to order a missile strike against an airbase in Syria.
Trump, many congressmen, and members of the intelligence community have said Assad is responsible for chemical attacks made against civilians in northern Syria on Tuesday. In the attack, at least 86 people were killed, including 28 children. The Turkish Health Ministry reported on Thursday the nerve agent used in the attack was sarin.
On Thursday, Trump ordered the launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles against an airbase belonging to the Syrian government. Trump claimed in a statement on the attack that there “can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council.”
Assad’s government has denied it is responsible for the chemical-weapons attack.
Speaking on CNN’s “Newsroom,” Kassem Eid, a survivor of a chemical attack launched by Assad in 2013, said he was “overwhelmed” with joy when he learned of Trump’s attack.
“I saw the news. I cried out of joy,” Eid said. “I jumped. I thanked God. I don’t know, I was overwhelmed. We’ve been asking for protection. We’ve been asking for consequences for more than six years. And today, for the first time, it happened. For the very first time we see Assad held accountable—just for once—held accountable for his crimes against humanity.”
“I was overwhelmed,” Eid said. “I felt grateful for President Trump. I felt grateful for the United States. I felt grateful for each and every person who lobbied and called, kept on talking until someone actually listened.”
CNN host Brooke Baldwin asked Eid whether he agreed critics of Trump who say the president is being hypocritical by defending Syrians in once instance and temporarily refusing to let Syrian refugees enter the country.
“With all due respect,” Eid said. “With all due respect, I didn’t see each and every person who was demonstrating after the travel ban. I didn’t see you three days ago when people were gassed to death, when civilians were gassed to death. I didn’t see you in 2013, when 1,400 people were gassed to death. I didn’t see you raising your voice against President Obama’s inaction in Syria that led us refugees, that made us refugees get kicked out of Syria.”
“If you really care about refugees, if you really care about helping us, please help us stay in our country,” Eid continued. “We don’t want to come to the United States. We want to stay in our country. We want to stay in our country, with all due respect. This is hypocrisy. If you really care, if you really care, help us stay in our country.”
Eid’s incredible message conflicts with what many critics of Trump have said about Syrian refugees, including Hillary Clinton, who recently said during a speech in Houston Trump can’t “in one breath speak of protecting Syrian babies and in the next, close America’s doors to them.”
On Friday, Trump asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a decision against Trump’s temporary travel ban made by a federal judge in Hawaii.
“To be sure, this order has been the subject of heated debate,” the Department of Justice wrote in its opening brief filed with the appellate court. “But the precedent set by this case will long transcend this order, this president, and this constitutional moment.”