UE senior student from Syria discusses recent air strikes

UE senior student from Syria discusses recent air strikes
(WFIE)

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - One native of Syria says he didn't feel it safe to study there, so he found a scholarship opportunity that landed him a spot on the University of Evansville's campus.

He's been here since his freshman year.

Thousands of miles now apart, UE senior Waleed Hasanato from his native homeland Syria.

"My house in Syria was on the ground by then; it was in the crossfire. The University of Aleppo, which I wanted to go to, is one of the most dangerous spots in the city," Hasanato said.

He moved to the Tri-State and started school as a freshman after earning a scholarship.

"I wasn't sure if I was welcome in my country by my government because I had done some activities; I had spoken their brutal acts," Hasanato explained.

Over the years, he continues to keep an eye on the suffering surrounding Syria.

"Because you're watching people that look like your family, your cousins, and they're being murdered in the most obscene matter; they're being tortured, they're being chemically suffocated," Hasanato described.

Saturday's air strikes, which were in response to suspected chemical attacks on civilians, Hasanato says, are a baby step, but feels a bigger plan is needed.

"If you bomb Assad for chemically attacking his people, and just stop there, the message is you can do whatever you want to your people as long as you're not using chemical weapons and he's got a bunch of other options to kill the people there," Hasanato told 14 News.

Hasanato says he's ideally hoping for international intervention.

"If you're being actively persecuted by your own government, which should be your shelter, but what is happening in Syria is that very thing – the government itself is bringing in foreign militias to kill its own people," Hasanato stated.

President Trump took to Twitter, writing: "A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine military."

About 10 students are currently participating in the Scholars for Syria program. UE is willing to bring more in, but with travel restrictions imposed, there's no way to get them here.

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