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Mixed views in Damascus as U.S. leads strikes against Islamic State in Syria

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 02:14

Syrians in Damascus are divided over airstrikes carried out by the United States and its Arab allies that have killed scores of Islamic State fighters. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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The United States and Arab allies launch airstrikes into Syria -- targeting Islamic State militants. The U.S. says the strikes are "only the beginning" as it opens a new front against militants by joining Syria's three-year-old civil war. Amateur video out of Idlib which can not be independently verified by Reuters appears to show the aftermath of an attack. In Syria's capital city Damascus -- mixed reaction. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN CITIZEN FROM ALEPPO, MAZEN OBEID, SAYING: "Definitely negative. When we see American warplanes flying in the air over Syria, it is impossible to be optimistic about this thing. They said there was coordination with the Syrian government. I hope that this coordination is real. The Syrian government would never let the United States hit locations without the knowledge of Syria, and in coordination with our Russian, Chinese and Iranian partners." For others it is welcome news. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN CITIZEN FROM ALEPPO, MUSTAFA KALLASEH, SAYING: "This is a positive result not only in Syria but also the neighboring countries, because terrorism has a bad impact on the whole world. This is international terrorism. With all my respect to America, it should stand by the Syrian government's side in a serious, serious, serious, way." A similar view from Omar Oso, a politician who represents Syrian Kurds in the Syrian parliament. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN PARLIAMENTARIAN WHO REPRESENTS SYRIAN KURDS, OMAR OSO, SAYING: "As you know, the American war technology, whether we like it or not, is great and the U.S. is a great power militarily, politically, financially and economically. It dominates the region and it is okay to see the Americans firing on IS, but only on the condition of co-ordinating with the Syrian political leadership." The U.S. Central Command says Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates participated in, or supported the strikes against, Islamic State targets. All are countries hostile to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad but now are fearful of the fighters that have emerged out of the anti-Assad rebellion they have supported.

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Mixed views in Damascus as U.S. leads strikes against Islamic State in Syria

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 02:14