Kassem Eid survived the 2013 sarin gas attack in Syria, but Eid says the “most painful memory” he has of the massacre isn’t what happened during it. Rather, he says it’s what did not happen afterward.
Eid, 29, ominously described that day as “judgment day,” saying that responders, after not seeing him breathing, placed him between two dead bodies, believing him to be dead as well. Moments later, someone saw Eid move and alerted responders. Eid’s life was saved because of “God’s will,” he told CNN Wednesday.
Despite his gruesome, near-death experience, however, Eid said something else stands out in his mind as the “most painful memory.”
“I can say with all truth that the most painful memory about that attack was watching President [Barack] Obama failing to fulfill his promise about [crossing] the red line,” Eid said, later adding that the former president “failed” when it came to Syria.
Obama famously drew a “red line” with regard to chemical weapons but did not take decisive action after Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons, killing as many as 1,400 of his own people, including hundreds of children.
“He [Obama] broke his promise. And with that broken promise, he broke a lot of hearts in Syria. And he made a lot of people give up on any kind of help from the international community,” Eid said. “A lot of people saw that that was the end. That no matter what the hell Assad’s going to do, nobody’s going to stop him. Nobody’s going to punish him, just for once.”
Eid, who said he was in the U.S. in 2014 to testify before the United Nations national security council and Congress, as well as to make several other public appearances, then asked to say “a few words to President Trump.”
Please, Mr. President, in the name of every woman and child and elder who got killed by the Assad regime, please come in and help us. Don’t make the same mistake that President Obama did. You criticized Obama for failing to punish and act when Assad crossed the red line. Now is the moment of truth. Now you should show the world that those days are over. We can’t just keep living in these unprecedented crimes against humanity.
Eid concluded his powerful five-minute monologue by saying that Syrians don’t want to leave their home country. All they want is help.
“Please help us. Go after the man who created all of this mess. It’s Bashar Assad. Don’t make the same mistake President Obama did. Don’t let Assad walk away,” Eid said.
Dozens more in Syria died Tuesday as the result of another chemical attack. Trump responded to the massacre during a joint news conference with King Abdullah II of Jordan, calling it “unacceptable” and “will not be tolerated.”
It’s unclear, however, if the Trump administration plans to act against Syria. Trump refused to say Wednesday if and/or when he would hold Assad, accountable, citing the importance of remaining unpredictable. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley urged the international agency Wednesday to take action, saying that if it doesn’t, the U.S. “may” act on its own.