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Updated: 20th September 2018 20:47

Air strikes worry Syrians living in Calgary

One day after American, French and British missiles rained down on three sites deemed to be helping the Syrian regime produce chemical weapons, Syrian immigrants now living in Calgary say they continue to fear for those remaining in their homeland and they just want the fighting to stop.

'This can't help our country, this makes more fighting. It will make more war'

Samer Khaldi gets ready to donate blood during an event at Canadian Blood Services office in Eau Claire. (Audrey Neveu/CBC)

One day after American, French and British missiles rained down on three sites deemed to be helping the Syrian regime produce chemical weapons, Syrian immigrants now living in Calgary say they continue to fear for those remaining in their homeland and they just want the fighting to stop.

"It's very sad. We need peace, We don't need that," said Samer Khaldi.

"This can't help our country, this makes more fighting. It will make more war. I want to go back like in the past, [when] we lived in peace."

The strikes were aimed at three facilities near the capital of Damascus thought to be producing chemical weapons, in response to an attack last weekend by the regime against its own citizens in the city of Douma. 

It's estimated the suspected chemical attack, blamed on Assad government, killed at least 40 people, according to non-governmental and aid organizations, although Syria and its ally, Russia, have denied any such weapons were used.

Donors give blood on at the Canadian Blood Services office in Calgary. Twenty-five Syrians gave blood on Saturday as a way of saying thanks to Canada. (Audrey Neveu/CBC)

Sam Nammoura with the Syrian Refugee Support Group in Calgary said he received a text from his niece back home as the strikes happened.

He said he understand why the government chose to strike, but he's horrified by the number of innocent people impacted.

"I'm angry, but at the same time I don't know what else we can do. I want, just like so many Syrians, we want an end to this. The question is, will this strike help to end the misery of Syria or is it going to make it worse."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he supports the military strikes. 

"Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons in last week's attack in eastern Ghouta, Syria," Trudeau said in a statement issued from Lima, Peru, where he is attending the Summit of the Americas.

"Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime's ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people. We will continue to work with our international partners to further investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Those responsible must be brought to justice."

Calgary blood drive

Khaldi was one of 25 Syrians who took part in a donor drive at the Canadian Blood Services office in Eau Claire on Saturday, part of a national effort to show thanks to Canada, which has welcomed more than 50,000 Syrians since 2015.

The event is a follow to a similar blood drive held in early January.

Basma Aldalati, also hoped to donate blood, but wasn't able to because her weight was too low.

Instead, the teenager served as a translator.

For her, the air strikes were a reminder of the dangers her family still living in Syria face. 

"I was very upset with what happened last night," she said. "I wish it stops in the coming days and everyone will be OK."

Aldalati left Syria four years ago with her immediate family, spending 1.5 years in Jordan before coming to Canada in 2016.

With files from Audrey Neveu, Terri Trembath

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