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'God damn you, Trump': Syrians in Damascus react to U.S.-led airstrikes

'God damn you, Trump': Syrians in Damascus react to U.S.-led airstrikes
From CBC - April 15, 2018

Damascene a name given to the people of Damascus had little presence in the Syrian uprising againstpresident Basharal-Assad comparedto those from other Syrian cities.

For one reason or another, Assad decided to hold on to Damascus fiercely,so those who wanted to rise up against himeither had to leave the city for good, or stay in prisons for undeterminedperiods of time.

News of the airstrikes by the U.S. and allieson Syria earlySaturday made headlines all over the world, but for those who live in Damascus it was nothing more thanbizarre theatricsand an un-accomplished mission.

'I thought it's the final day of the world'

The strikes came at4 a.m.in Damascus, the city that sleeps so little these days. Some people were partying and others were sleeping in the safety of their beds when a loud siren started to wail. People mumbled to one another, "Donald trump has launched his airstrikes."

"I was asleep when I heard the airstrikes.It was so loud that I thought it's the final day of the world," said NoorT., not her real name, a university student who had a project to deliver on Saturday.

"My entire family woke up, too.Some dared to look through the windows and others talked about going down to the basement. I live in Mashrou Dummar (7 km from the centre of Damascus).I opened my Facebook to check on what the heck was going on.And then I received messages from friends who live outside Syria who wanted to check up on me. I was so scared, and I prayed to God to protect all of us."

The noise of the aircraftvaried in intensity across the city. BilalA., also not his real name,said he was up when he heard the siren.

"I thought to myself, 'we are doomed,'" he said. "I live in Abu Romanah (1km away from central Damascus) in a neighbourhood that is close to the air force intelligence building.I thought the building was going to be on the target list, but it was not."

Since Bilalhad heard thatattacks were coming, he had planned to sleep over at his relatives' house."I was scared because the airstrikes were carried by big countries, and I thought, 'this going to be huge.'"Butuncertainty abouttiming madehim reluctant to leave home.

'God damn you, Trump'

Mazen Haffar, a cameraman, had made plans with his team to cover the attacks wheneverthey happened. He lives in Alaahira, about 2 kmaway from central Damascus.

"Ten minutes after the launch of the attacks I was ready to hit the road with my camera. I made sure that my family was safe and I drove up to Al-Mazzeh area where I was supposed to turn on a live feed," he said."I avoided passing by Almazzeh airport (targeted on that night) and drove on a high speed next to some other sensitive locations. On the way I was praying to God to protect us and our beloved city.

"My main focus was to go live as soon as possible and show what was happening to the world."

At 5:05 a.m. Mazen startedbroadcastingfrom a rooftop of a residential building. "Of course I was scared, but I had a mission to accomplish, and I could capture two airstrikes and Syrian anti-missileslive," he said.

'It was such a bizarre show'

'The morning of resilience'

'Mission accomplished'

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