CHICAGO — News of the U.S.-led missile attack on Syria's chemical weapons program elicited a complicated set of emotions from Suzanne Akhras, who emigrated from the country before it was gripped by a bloody and protracted civil war.
"It's a difficult position to be in. This is my country of origin, so it's very hard to hear we are bombing Syria," said Akhras, 45, founder and executive director of the Chicago-based Syrian Community Network.
Though serious U.S. military action is long overdue, Akhras said, the offensive won't be enough to stop President Bashar Assad's use of chemical weapons or to end the conflict.
"It's just a slap on the wrist," said Akhras, who came to Chicago as a 10-year-old in 1982. "If you really want to do something that matters, take away Assad's air force."
On Friday night, President Donald Trump announced that French and British warplanes joined American forces in striking three chemical-related facilities. The action followed reports of the Syrian government using poison gas against civilians near Damascus last week, killing 43 people and wounding hundreds more.
Samir Alomar's perspective on the issue is shaped by his experience as a new refugee in Chicago.
He was among more than 3,000 Syrians who came to the U.S. in 2017, though his plans were initially delayed because of the Trump administration's travel ban against refugees from Syria and some other Muslim majority countries.
Alomar, his wife and three young children were placed in Rogers Park in February 2017.
Speaking through an interpreter, he said he did not agree with Trump's military action because it was not forceful enough to bring peace to his homeland.
"If the strike can bring a positive result, then that's great," he said.
If not, he said, then it wasn't worth it.
The family and other members of the Syrian community in Chicago were attending a multicultural dinner put on by Break Bread Chicago on Saturday night to support refugees.
Amneh Arnous, 49, said she supports the outcome of the strike but at first was terrified hearing about the raids from family members.
She was talking with her sister on WhatsApp when the bombs dropped on the outskirts of Damascus.
"It was like a horror night," Arnous said. "Everyone was so scared. The sky was orange.
"It's scary. It's too late, and it's not enough."