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The Flagship

Aug 30

Amid talk of strikes, voices from Syria

"You don't have the chance to grieve. You don't have the chance to be sad. You can just be panicked or worried, and feel helpless."

That's how Syrian filmmaker Humam Husari said he felt as he moved between the convulsing bodies of the sick and dying at an inundated field hospital in the Damascus suburb of Douma last Wednesday. 

He had been at home when he says he heard ambulances and car horns, and saw posts on Facebook saying that a massacre had taken place just three kilometers away in Zamalka. So he picked up his camera and went to the nearby hospital.

"It was good that I had my camera because it kept me busy," he said later of the horrific scene before him. "If I hadn’t had it, I would not have known what to do."

The videos he shot show overwhelmed doctors trying to help scores of victims of what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says was a chemical attack carried out by the Syrian regime that killed more than 1,400 people. 

As the U.S. now weighs responding with "limited" air strikes on Syrian military installations, Husari says the Syrians he has been talking to in rebel-held areas are conflicted.

"They have been under this killing machine for two and a half years now, so any talk about what might end this war makes them very happy," he told America Tonight correspondent Sheila MacVicar over Skype. "But all talk about this American strike is that it is to punish the regime, not to topple the regime. This is a disappointment for them."

But they are also worried about being caught in crossfire. "One man told me yesterday that it’s a war between Russia and America," Husari said. "Just on our soil."



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