In the Triangle, mixed feelings about strike on Syria

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Triangle residents had mixed feelings about the U.S. response in Syria.

Across the Triangle, residents -- some with close ties to the tensions in the Middle East -- have been sharing their thoughts with ABC11 on the U.S. airstrikes against Syria.

In Raleigh, Nathan Lester said he was horrified seeing videos from the aftermath of the chemical attack, that killed men, women, and children, and he agreed with the U.S. action.

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"It really messed me up, because I am a father of a 2-year old, who turns 2 next week," Lester said. "I agree with (President Donald Trump's) decision and if it becomes war then so be it."



Some people who are war weary have said President Trump should find a diplomatic way to intervene in Syria.

"Talk about it," said Jeremy Vanterpool. "Why fight? Fight doesn't solve anything. Fight creates more fights, more war, and it's going to keep going over the years. We've been at war for how long now?"

Stacie Phillips would also prefer peaceful intervention, but questions whether Syrian President Bashar Assad would respond to anything less than a military strike.

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"It feels like he doesn't take life seriously and we need to find that to be unacceptable," said Stacie Phillips. "I'm not a big fan of use of force, but I'm also not a big fan of rulers killing their own people."

TRIANGLE IMMIGRANTS HAVE MIXED FEELINGS

Ahmad Bakerli, who has lived in Raleigh for 29 years, was up until 4 a.m. watching the news.

"There's that Assad is finally being slapped," he said. "(Syrians would) like to stop this atrocity, but also they cannot feel good to see a foreign power bombing their own country. That attack yesterday destroyed several helicopters and aircraft that's own by the Syrian people, paid for by the Syrian citizens, destroyed a whole airfield ... the second largest in Syria."

Chuck Jabr feels the attack was inhumane.

"We can't compact violence with violence," he said. "It's a shame anytime anyone gets killed, I don't care who they are. Any human being gets hurt for any reason, I'm against it."

WATCH: SYRIAN IMMIGRANTS REACT TO U.S. AIRSTRIKE
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Ahmad Bakerli



Syrian-Americans say their relatives are desperate for peace and have been under siege for decades.

"Drums loaded with explosives and shredders and metal pieces (are) dropped on neighborhoods," said Bakerli.

"They are tired, they are fed up," Jabr said.



The airstrike has led some people to flip their political positions.

Bakerli told ABC11 he voted for Hillary Clinton and detested Donald Trump during the election. He now believes President Trump could be the answer to the Middle East crisis.

"He is decisive, and he is a man of action, and he walks the talk. What we heard from him, everything he promised, he is delivering," he said.

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Jabr, on the other hand, voted for Trump and is angry.

"I am disappointed that he did this," he said. "Within 24 hours, someone showed him some pictures, and he's saying 'Well the Syrian Army did this.' We don't even know who did it yet."

WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING

David McLennan, a Meredith College Professor of Political Science, told ABC11 he's optimistic the U.S. airstrike is a one-time deal.

"If something like a collision between a US fighter and a Russian fighter, then I think we're in for some real serious trouble," McLennan said. "But I think as long as nothing happens in the next three or four days, this may be a 'one and done' type situation; unless Assad or the Russians provoke the United States."

WATCH: TRIANGLE EXPERTS DISCUSS SYRIA SITUATION
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ABC11's Jon Camp spoke to local political science experts about the situation in Syria.



The situation in Syria is a complex and delicate one.

"ISIS is still there, and it's sort of a three-way fight between Assad's forces, the anti-Assad forces, and then you've got ISIS there," McLennan said. "And the more it escalates between the Syrian army and the more ISIS is left alone, this could become a difficult situation for Trump."

Meanwhile, a Duke professor says it's too early to tell what effect the U.S. response in Syria will ultimately have.

"Is this a first step in strategy to change pathway to Syrian war? We don't know the answer. It will take more than Tomahawk missiles to do that," said David Schanzer, Duke Professor of Public Policy. "There's the whole issue of ISIS as well. If we are going in that direction, we need a robust strategy and a diplomatic initiative; things this administration may not have thought through and certainly haven't articulated."

DISPLAY OF UNITY

During this time of strife, abroad and at home, some people in the Triangle are banding together.

There will be an interfaith vigil Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Islamic Center of Cary at 1076 West Chatham St.

And in Fayetteville, thousands are expected to gather Saturday in prayer and for a walk to show support for the military community. Watch the video below for more:

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Thousands will gather in prayer and will walk in the Fayetteville area Saturday to show support for the military.


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