Syrian view of US attack on village

A small portrait of the translator

October 28, 2008 @ 13:56 UTC

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Iraq, Syria
International Relations, War & Conflict

An attack like the one carried out yesterday was the first of its kind against Syria — a country with which the US is not at war. A Syrian BBC listener who was in the village at the time told the BBC that the raid had enraged local residents. He said:

I live less than two miles (three kilometres) away from where it took place. I was asleep at the time, but went to the hospital less than two hours afterwards. Nearly everyone who had heard about it was there.

Most of the people here have bitter anti-American sentiments and this has only added fuel to the fire.

We are also very disappointed with the lack of response from our own authorities.

The attack was in the village of Sukariya, which is inhabited almost entirely by the Mashahda tribe.

They are very relaxed, laid back people, not very religious - there's no Mujahideen from this tribe. The guard and the woman who died were very simple people.

They lived in a tent and were being paid to guard building materials such as cement and timber, 24 hours a day. These people will have had nothing to do with the insurgency in Iraq.

Most of the people who live here have families in Iraq. A lot of smuggling goes on: bringing guns and sheep from Iraq to Syria.

There is security everywhere in this country. The government is very severe with the locals; if they have a tip-off that someone has a stolen gun, the place will be surrounded in two minutes.

But yesterday there was zero response. The attack happened close to a bridge over the Euphrates and there are military posts either side of the bridge - so very near.

But the army is indecisive when it comes to action. The people who were killed were harmless, they should have been protected. It is a very saddening experience.

People talk about patriotism, but when it comes to action - nothing.

People here hate America more than before and they are disappointed in their own authorities' response.

Can you imagine a better recruitment vehicle for terrorism than for the US to have attacked a village in a neighboring country to Iraq? Much of the Syrian's frustration is with his own regime for its failure to respond. Overnight, the US attack has caused Syrians nationalists to feel greater sympathy for the enemies of the United States. What kind of organizations will angry young Syrians likely turn to, if they are, on one hand, frustrated with their own government, and on the other, angry at the United States?

By waging the war in Iraq, the United States discredits local authorities, thereby increasing the appeal of Bin Laden's message to those who inhabit villages throughout the region. Is it any wonder terrorists say they want John McCain to win the election?

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