Syrians Anticipate U.S. Strikes

Residents in Damascus are preparing for a possible attack from the United States. Syrian Nada Keuttnen, who works as a fixer for journalists in Damascus, tells host Scott Simon about the mood in the capital as the threat of U.S. missile strikes looms.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

To Damascus now, as Syrians prepare for what might be coming. Nada Keuttnen works helping visiting journalists there in Damascus, including several NPR reporters. She joins us over Skype. Nada, thank you very much for being with us.

NADA KEUTTNEN: You are welcome.

SIMON: What's Damascus like today?

KEUTTNEN: It doesn't seem different than two, three, even a week ago. The life is going on. People are a bit may be worried and they're trying to buy extra dry food, expecting that something will happen but nothing is.

SIMON: Do you talk to people, and perhaps this is you too, are you worried about your safety?

KEUTTNEN: To be honest, not really because what happened during two and a half year now, it was all the time risky to be here, but we decide that we are here. We are not leaving. And most of the people here believe that nobody die unless it's his time. So, we are keeping here, waiting, seeing what's going on. At the end of the day, this is our country.

SIMON: I know you have to be careful answering this question, but do you have any strong feelings about who you want to prevail in your country?

KEUTTNEN: To be honest, now when the outsiders are interfering here in, I don't want them to win. Because all these Islamists, jihadists, which they came from abroad, they have no at all any vision for this country. So, I can see that the country will be destroyed completely if they get through. So, to be honest, no, I don't want to be winners.

SIMON: Yeah. What do you feel about the regime - and I know you might have to be careful answering this.

KEUTTNEN: No. OK. The regime have been mistaken for certain things. We used to have corruption. It's not new. Everybody knows that. But most of the Syrians think that the corruption and the mistakes the regime have, it's not to be correct this way.

SIMON: This way meaning...

KEUTTNEN: Destroying the country, killing people.

SIMON: What do you think about the regime killing Syrian civilians and perhaps with chemical weapons?

KEUTTNEN: To be honest, I don't believe that the regime have used the chemicals. And until now, we don't have proof. OK. They have been used. They have been used. I knew that. Everybody knew that. But the responsible doesn't seem clear yet. So, we can't make any conclusions before we know who did it really. After that, maybe we can be angry to either side, but until now we can't make sure that who use it. And to be honest, why the regime? If it exists and they have the weapons, as they said most of the media, journals and the TV, radios that they have it and they use it. Why they waited that long to use it? And why that they allowed the community to come and make the visit to the Buta(ph) or to Harlasha(ph), why they waited that long to do it. It seems not logic and stupid.

SIMON: So, you weren't convinced by what President Obama said?

KEUTTNEN: To be honest, I don't trust Obama not a bit.

SIMON: Why?

KEUTTNEN: Because he keeps saying things which doesn't exist. And we were, as Arab countries, hoping when he was new elected that maybe he is a bit better than the former Bush. But it seems to be that every president come to the United States is not carrying on anything except what's help Israel, which it's their little tribe to be care.

SIMON: What do you think a U.S. military strike might do on the ground? And I know you can't necessarily know where any bombs would fall, but how do you think that'll affect your life?

KEUTTNEN: More destroying buildings, more suffering people, more refugees, more difficulties. It doesn't solve anything.

SIMON: Nada Keuttnen in Damascus. Thanks very much for speaking with us.

KEUTTNEN: You're welcome.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.