Syria Doc Director Critiques US Strike: ‘It Doesn’t Remotely Constitute a Syrian Strategy’

“The only losers in this situation are the people of Syria who want peace and freedom,” says Matthew Heineman, director of “City of Ghosts”

“City of Ghosts” director Matthew Heineman criticized the way the Trump administration reacted to a recent attack on Syrian civilians.

“The horrific use of sarin gas by the Assad regime violates an international treaty enacted after the First World War,” said the director of the 2017 documentary about Syria in a statement on Friday. “The U.S. limited military strike responds to that moral outrage. But it doesn’t remotely constitute a Syrian strategy or, at the moment, indicate whether the Administration will go up against Russia to end Assad’s brutal dictatorship that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and millions of refuges who have been forced to flee the country.”

The U.S. launched the airstrike in response to chemical attacks against Syrian civilians earlier this week that have been blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. As many as 70 people were killed.

Heineman’s documentary, which follows journalists in Raqqa who have spent the last few years trying to document the repression and brutality in their home country, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It will screen at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in North Carolina on Saturday.

“As has been the case for years in Syria, there is no easy answer, but surely the only losers in this situation are the people of Syria who want peace and freedom,” Heineman said.

An estimated 11 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of the civil war in March 2011, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, 4.8 million people have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. Another 6.6 million have been internally displaced within Syria.

Read Heineman’s full statement below:

The horrific use of sarin gas by the Assad regime violates an international treaty enacted after the First World War. The U.S. limited military strike responds to that moral outrage. But it doesn’t remotely constitute a Syrian strategy or, at the moment, indicate whether the Administration will go up against Russia to end Assad’s brutal dictatorship that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and millions of refuges who have been forced to flee the country.

It also does not address the separate horrors of ISIS which the Syrians featured in CITY OF GHOSTS are fighting against at great personal peril. US forces working with local militias have now encircled their hometown of Raqqa and seem poised to invade the city. Hundreds of civilians have already been killed since the fight for Raqqa began in earnest several weeks ago. Over 300,000 residents are trapped and being used as human shields.

As has been the case for years in Syria, there is no easy answer, but surely the only losers in this situation are the people of Syria who want peace and freedom.