Striking just one Syrian air base "is not enough", rather US President Donald Trump should have destroyed all the air bases in the country, said the heartbroken father who was seen cradling his dead twins in his arms in the aftermath of the deadly chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun town in the rebel-held northern province of Idlib on 4 April.
US authorities blamed the chemical attack on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and said that they found enough evidence to show that the banned nerve agent sarin was used on civilians. However, the Assad regime and its ally Russia have denied the use of chemical weapons and claimed the spread of the chemical was because the air strikes hit some rebel chemical weapons arsenal.
"We thought he [Trump] would strike all the air bases. Striking one is not enough," Abdul Hamid al-Youssef said, referring to the 59 Tomahawk missiles launched by the US on the Shayrat air base in central Syria on Friday (7 April). It was suspected that the government air base was used to launch similar chemical weapons earlier as well. Nearly 80 people lost their liveswhile over 500 were hospitalised following the chemical attack.
Recalling the horrifying day, al-Youssef, who lost 19 members of his family – including wife Dalal and twins Ahmed and Aya, said that they woke up to sounds of bombardment.
He told his wife to take their twins to safety outside and had rushed out of his house to find it completely destroyed in one of the strikes. Just as he was looking at his home covered in dust and debris, there was another explosion about 300 meters away from him. He said within minutes his eyes started to water and he soon lost consciousness.
"I estimate I came to senses about five hours later. And I had lost 19 of my close relatives. They were all on the ground."
Eventually, "they [rescue workers] found Ahmed, Aya and my wife and four other people near my house," the 29-year-old shopkeeper told the news agency from the southern Turkish province of Hatay where he fled for safety following the attacks.
"What I want is for this waterfall of blood to end, for my people to live a good life, like humans, free and with justice. I want this cruelty to end and to go back to living how we used to," he said, referring to the six-year-old Syrian civil war.
Glancing at the photographs of his wife and children on his cellphone, he added: "My goal from now on will be to tell everybody what I have lived through."