SF Doctor Born In Syria Weighs In On Recent Events

"President Trump has proven he is very unpredictable,” says Dr. Salem.


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – President Donald Trump’s decisions regarding the Middle East have been nothing short of controversial.

Many are at odds at whether they agree with the President’s travel ban or his recent military strike on Syria.

One Sioux Falls doctor who was born and raised in Aleppo says he also has conflicting opinions.

When you ask Sanford Health Dr. Bassel Salem how he feels about President Donald Trump’s travel ban he’ll tell you, “it’s really shameful actually”.

But ask him about the military strike on Syria, he’ll respond “very happy”.

The answers are polar opposite.

“President Trump has proven he is very unpredictable,” says Dr. Salem.

The neurologist grew up in Aleppo.

He first came to the states in 2005, when he was 28-years-old to further his education, and to do his residency here.

But his parents and sister still live in Syria.

“Every time we talk, anything that could relate to politics you can tell that my parents change the subject right away,” says Dr. Salem. “We really don’t know if someone is monitoring or listening, it’s just a culture of fear that people have been raised up in. If you do anything that these rulers don’t like, then you’re in big trouble.”

This is why Dr. Salem says he’s against the travel ban.

“In the long run, what’s going to happen to these people who have no education, their life is miserable, they have total uncertainty in their life,” says Dr. Salem. “You’re just planting the seeds for more and more trouble in the world.”

But now, he says there is a little bit of hope.

“The hope is that a real change in policy takes place.”

After Dr. Salem heard the United States fired 59 cruise missiles at Syria in response to what is believed to be a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 100 people, he thought to himself – it’s about time.

“As a major super power that believes in freedom, human rights and democracy, you cannot let this conflict continue,” explains Dr. Salem.

So while the doctor doesn’t agree with everything President Trump has done, he hopes his latest step won’t be the last one in ending the violence in the Middle East.

“They just want peace,” he says. “At the end of the day, they just want to get food, bring it back to their families and just live their life normally.”

Syria has claimed that six people were killed during the military strike.

But the Pentagon says civilians were not targeted and the strike was aimed at a military airfield.

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