A member of the Syrian Canadian Council is calling U.S. missile strikes in his home country a "positive signal" that will be celebrated by the majority of Syrians.
President Donald Trump authorized 59 Tomahawk missiles to be launched at the government-controlled Shayrat airbase in central Syria — the site where military planes behind a deadly gas attack took off from earlier this week, according to U.S. officials.
Dr. Ahmed Chaker said he was not surprised by the chemical attack that killed more than 80 civilians because President Bashar al-Assad has used similar weapons before.
He believes the videos of children and their parents choking and dying in the hours after the bombing were part of the reason why this particular attack garnered such a significant response internationally.
"I don't know why they care more about chemicals," he said. "Assad has killed hundreds of thousands of people … in other ways."
Although he's hopeful the missile strikes will stop Assad from carrying out more attacks, Chaker said he would like to see the international community do more than attack an air base.
"Assad is still in power, his regime is still strong," he said. "The people who planned these chemical attacks need to be the target."
Canada 'fully supports' strike
In a statement issued Friday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada "fully supports" the United States, but the American action has drawn criticism from the Syrian and Russian governments who described the attack as "aggression."
Locally, the Windsor Peace Coalition is planning a protest against the missile strike that they believe is "pushing the world towards war."
Chaker said he has a hard time understanding what is motivating the critics, considering the pain Syria's president has caused his country.
"Assad keeps killing people for seven years now … war crimes practiced in Syria every day with the world watching," he said. "Now you call a single a reaction by the Trump administration aggression?"
Another argument against the attack is the U.S. president's stance against accepting refugees who have no options other than to "leave Syria or die," according to Chaker.
The activist said America should open its door while Syria's people are threatened, but if Trump is willing to help protect civilians they would never leave their home.
"If the Trump administration will be brave enough to solve the problem in Syria the people won't want to leave," he said.