Ottawa residents add to voices calling for action in Syria after gas attack
Published Wednesday, April 5, 2017 5:57PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, April 5, 2017 7:02PM EDT
The images are seared in the minds of anyone who has seen them: graphic video of children gasping for air, bodies everywhere after this latest chemical attack in Syria.
Condemnation is pouring in against the Syrian government but many here in Ottawa and around the world are asking, “Is that it?”
For Gatineau resident Rehab Adas, it was one image of a young father holding his two dead children that made her hold her 4-year-old daughter just a bit tighter.
“I can't imagine this,” said Adas, with the Syrian Canadian Community Association, “I don't know how the world is keeping silence of this crime.”
The children were among more than 70 killed and hundreds wounded in a chemical attack, believed to be carried out by the Syrian government.
In Adas’ living room, a television pumps out news of the horrific happenings, with U.S. President Donald Trump announcing that “this has crossed many many lines, beyond the red line.”
Adas, who left Syria in 1990, says now is the time for the United States to lead the rest of the world in saving what is left of her home country.
“We don't need red line anymore. We need action,” she says, “If he can take action, just do it. Don't just say it.”
Michael Petrou agrees. The journalist and historian just returned from the Middle East two weeks ago, says that famous “red line” keeps getting shifted no matter what atrocities Assad commits.
“If the leader of a country gasses children, he needs to be punished,” Petrou says, “He should have faced punishment for gassing children 3 years ago and real consequences, not tweets from prime minister.”
Today in Ottawa, the Prime Minister offered aid in gathering evidence of war crimes.
“It is critical we hold to account those responsible for these war crimes,” he told the House of Commons during Question Period, “In addition, we will provide $840 million to provide life-saving humanitarian and development assistance for the region to alleviate suffering in this conflict.”
In Washington, the American President called out the Assad regime,
“When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, babies, little babies,” he said at a news conference alongside Jordan’s King Abdullah, but failed to say how or if the U.S. will retaliate.
“I will tell you my attitude towards Assad has changed very much,” Trump added.
At the UN, Ambassador Niki Haley called for a collective response but hinted the U.S. may go it alone.
“There are times in a life of states when we are compelled to take our own action,” she said.
Rehab Adas added a plea for Canada to take more action and open its doors wider yet to Syrian refugees.
“If we can do more for them, why not?”