Syrian doctor in Detroit says US and allies missile attack was symbolic

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The US and allies strike Syria but will it make a difference? One activist and Syrian native says he's hopeful.

Dr. Yahya Basha came to the United States from Syria in 1972. He has built a successful business but said he's felt helpless watching the civil war in his native land - until now

Missiles launched, a line crossed, chemical weapons again used on the Syrian people. The United States and its allies responded in a limited way but Dr. Yahya Basha says it's significant and symbolic.

"I'm happy now the president -regardless of the politics of the day and who said what - he did something great," said Basha.

Basha, who owns Basha Diagnostics, has long been a strong advocate for Syria and its people.  He's grateful to President Donald Trump, France and the United Kingdom for standing up to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad and his allies - Russia and Iran.

"Technically people think it is a remote issue - it's not a remote issue," he said.

In a country of 23 million, more than 11 million are now refugees or displaced internally. Hundreds of thousands are wounded and half a million are dead - with no end in sight for Syria's civil war where children are dying daily.

"You feel you're helpless, hopeless and can you imagine those same kids have been hiding in basements of buildings year after year," Basha said. "A lot of these areas (have been) denied food, medicine, water and electricity for years and years."

"It's quite clear that nothing we did is going to upset the Russians or the Iranians that much, or Syria or the Assad regime," said Dr. Fred Pearson. "Because it's pretty clear what the limits are where we moved."

Pearson is the head of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Wayne State University. He says the US and its allies need to engage in pressure, sanctions and strong diplomatic action - but questions whether the administration has a plan. 

In the meantime, he says accepting more Syrian refugees fleeing this war and giving aid in other ways, would make a strong statement.

"We also haven't taken many Syrian refugees at all - I think we've taken 11," Pearson said.

Eleven Syrian refugees in 2018 - there are more than 11 million. Both doctors agree the crisis in Syria cannot be ignored by the United States.

"All of the time you want to see people stand on the right side of history," Basha said. "Nobody should stay neutral to the issue; they don't see or they don't hear or it's somebody else's problem."