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Disillusioned Syrians: Air strikes ‘not enough’

DEBRIS surround the Syrian Scientific Research Center attacked by US, British, and French military strikes to punish President Bashar Assad for suspected chemical attack against civilians in Barzeh, near Damascus, Syria. (AP)

DEBRIS surround the Syrian Scientific Research Center attacked by US, British, and French military strikes to punish President Bashar Assad for suspected chemical attack against civilians in Barzeh, near Damascus, Syria. (AP)

Hundreds of kilometers from their homes in Syria’s wrecked Eastern Ghouta, displaced Syrians say Western air strikes Saturday in response to an alleged chemical attack there were too little, too late.

The United States, Britain, and France targeted military and research sites in Syria after the purported toxic attack on Eastern Ghouta’s last rebel holdout of Douma a week earlier.

Medics and rescuers said the alleged chemical attack killed more than 40 people in Douma, weeks into a brutal regime air and ground assault to retake the wider region on the outskirts of Damascus from rebels.

“We’re so happy to see that someone felt for us,” said Nadia Sidawi, 46, one of thousands of displaced Douma residents now living in northern Syria after they were evacuated from the town.

But “the strikes are not enough,” said the mother-of-eight, sitting on a mattress outside a white tent in a camp for the displaced more than 400 kilometers from her home in Douma.

President Bashar al-Assad “killed us – our children, our women. He destroyed our homes,” said the housewife, whose hair was wrapped in a black scarf.

More than 1,700 civilians were killed in a Russia-backed regime assault on Eastern Ghouta since mid-February.

Since then, Assad’s forces have retaken almost the entire rebel bastion through the military operation and Moscow-brokered evacuation deals.

An agreement for the Jaish al-Islam rebels who once controlled Douma has seen thousands of people – rebels and civilians – bussed up to a rebel-held area of the northern province of Aleppo. (AFP)

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