Syrian law student in area reacts to the military strikes in her country

MILL CREEK, Wash. --  President Donald Trump’s announcement of coordinated strikes on Syria late Friday came as good news to Malak Shalabi.

“I do support strategic military tactics used against the Syrian regime and its allies,” said Shalabi.

Shalabi was 14 when the Syrian civil war started. Now at 21, she’s starting law school in Seattle focusing on international law.

“I do believe the majority of the Syrian people would like to see the end of the Syrian regime,” said Shalabi.

She went back to Syria in 2011 and has fond memories of the smell of jasmine in the streets and seeing the historic architecture of her home country.

“It was the most beautiful country in the world,” Shalabi said.

Her visit came at the height of the Arab Spring. Shalabi says no one in Syria feels comfortable to openly talk about what is happening in the country.

“In Syria, you cannot speak about the government, about politics, there is an expression that the walls have ears,” said Shalabi.

Shalabi has family still living in Damascus. She says people in that city are living normal lives but just a few minutes away it’s a war zone.

“Damascus is a 20-minute car ride for from where we saw all the videos of people being buried alive, of hearing their screams. That’s 20 minutes from where you can sit and have lunch in Damascus,” said Shalabi ,describing the country as split in two with people who live under the regime and those who don’t.

Shalabi says Syrians wonder why the international community hasn’t done more in the last seven years since the civil war began, but she says these coordinated strikes by the U.S., France and Britain is better late than never.

“I anticipate and hope this year the international community and the U.S. will take action against the Syrian regime, but it’s very late,” said Shalabi.

For this young law student, who plans to use her law degree to fight for justice in the Muslim world, she hopes her next visit to Syria will look different.

“I would like to see a beautiful, liberated Syria, controlled by the people who have fought relentlessly against the oppressors. I would like to see government representing the Syrian people,” said Shalabi.