Following the U.S. missile strikes in Syria, refugees now living in San Diego County are experiencing everything from fear to relief. One father and daughter said that over the years, 55 of their family members have been killed as a result of their country’s violence.
"That's enough, like we already have enough bombs," Mony Zarour, 22, told NBC 7 Thursday night, referring to the airstrikes on Syria ordered by President Donald Trump in response to a gas attack that killed dozens of people, including children. "That’s enough for the people."
The young woman said she's exhausted, angry and upset over the bombings. While she knows the bombs are targeting the Syrian government, she wants the violence to stop. She said even one more bomb is one bomb too many.
However, mixed feelings fill the Zarour household in El Cajon.
Mony Zarour's father, who also now lives in San Diego, told NBC 7 he's relieved Trump is stepping in to combat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He called al-Assad a war criminal, terrorist and dictator, and said the Syrian leader "deserves" what's happening.
"We are all Syrian refugees, because of al-Assad; we are displaced. This is all because of him," he said, speaking through an interpreter. "We need the peace. This is our priority, and we stop the war. The peace is very important for all of the Syrian people."
Over the past six years, the Zarours have dealt with the loss of 55 family members killed amid the ongoing violence in Syria -- men, women and even children. The youngest victim among their loved ones was a 2-year-old child.
“Some of them [were killed] by bombs dropped on the houses or in the streets," said Mony Zarour.
Others, she said, were killed by snipers. Her cousin was gunned down while in his car.
"Shooting, machine guns," she said.
"Some insurgents broke my cousin’s house and killed them – slaughtered. Ten family members, they killed them. They burned their bodies," Zarour's father said.
Mony Zarour and her parents blame the government for the deaths in Syria.
Her mother, who did not want to be identified, said the situation is so bad, government troops arrest and kill men and women, then blame ISIS or insurgent groups for the slayings.
"A thousand orphans, a thousand widows left behind. [These] displaced people cannot find a place to live; they cannot find a roof," the mother said, also speaking to NBC 7 through an interpreter. "We lost our house, we lost our family."
The mother said she forced her son, now 24, to leave Syria and move to Malaysia. She said this was done to protect him, as he had three options amid the war: to leave, be arrested or be killed. The family has not seen him in years.
The Zarour family, originally from the city of Homs, Syria, fled the country in 2012. Their street, once lined with apartment complexes, is now lined with blown-out buildings, steel and concrete rebars.
Mony Zarour said the sound of the bombs exploding in her hometown are a sound she will never forget. Her father said he remembers seeing mortar and pieces of buildings falling to the ground as the bombs hit surrounding areas.
Two months ago, bombings completely destroyed the family's home in Homs.
"This is our street," Mony Zarour added, showing NBC 7 cellphone video of the buildings left in ruins. "It's our street, my aunt’s house, completely destroyed. A gas bomb fell on our house and burned everything. Nothing [left] on the house. Everything is burned."
Holding back tears, the young woman said it's incredibly sad to see the streets where she grew up -- where she went to school and played with friends -- transformed into a war zone.
Mony Zarour said Trump's decision to strike Syria is worrisome.
"It's too bad what happened," she lamented. "It's not good."
Mony Zarour is afraid for innocent Syrian families who don't want war, including her aunt, cousins and other loved ones still living there.
"They are people, just like us. They don't want anything -- just to stay in their home. They need peace -- a [peaceful] place to live," she said. "We want to stop the violence and the war."
San Diego, the eighth largest city in the United States, is home to many Syrian refugees. Last fall, NBC 7 reported that since Oct. 1, 2016, the city had received 626 Syrian refugees – more than any other city in the U.S. At that time, resettlement organizations like Jewish Family Service San Diego said that number was expected to grow.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed since the civil war broke out in Syria six years ago, with conflicting numbers about the death toll. A United Nations envoy to Syria estimated last April that 400,000 had been killed.