Syrians in UAE worry for families

Only option is to adjust to chaos as travel difficulties hinder chance to flee

Image Credit: AP
Syrian refugees boys fill up their water bottles, at a temporary refugee camp in the eastern Lebanese town of Faour near the border with Syria, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. U.N. chemical weapons experts headed to a Damascus suburb on Wednesday for a new tour of areas struck by a purported poison gas attack, activists said, as the U.S. laid the groundwork for a possible punitive strike and the U.N. chief pleaded for more time for diplomacy.
Gulf News

Dubai: From the start of the Syrian crisis, people have been concerned for their relatives living in the war-torn country.

With the quickly deteriorating situation and growing possibility of a US-led attack, the level of worry among Syrians has multiplied manifold. Gulf News spoke to UAE-based Syrians, who said they want nothing more than their families’ safety.

Zekrayat Mustafa wants her family to be safe but they are not ready to leave Halab, Syria - the only home they’ve known.

In a recent phone call to her sister, Zekrayat was upset to hear about the dangerous situation the family was facing just to purchase food.

Zekrayat said: “My sister told me she insisted on buying cucumbers and tomatoes even though there was gunfire in front of her. People were being shot at right beside her but she wanted to buy food for the family.

“I’m more nervous and worried than they are whenever I speak to them. They are living life normally in Halab because they’ve adjusted to the chaos around them. I want them to leave but they are determined to stay.”

Diab Rahmeh is another Syrian expatriate who is hoping that his family will join him in the UAE. His mother is refusing to leave her home near Homs and his sister, who is seven months away from her university graduation, doesn’t want to leave her mother behind.

Rahmeh said: “Eventually I want to bring them both here because their safety is more important to me than anything. People in Syria are scared of the chaos that may ensue if the recent news of US involvement is true. I know many people who want to leave, but they can’t. Others are not interested in leaving.”

Bassel Nadim, who has the majority of his family and relatives in Damascus, Syria, would like them to relocate to a safer location, but complications such as obtaining visas and transport obstacles make the decision difficult.

He said: “Before the recent developments, my family was not planning to leave Syria. Now they are a little more concerned and constantly worried. Even if people want to leave, there are limited options. Also, some people there are still driven by the hope that things will calm down and get back to normal.”

Ala’a Mohammad had a similar view. He would like to ensure his family’s safety but getting visas for them to leave Syria is next to impossible. Additionally, his family is reluctant to leave their home.

He said: “No one likes to stay in danger, but my parents have a very strong connection to Syria.”

Mohammad added that regardless of what his family wants, in the end he will make sure they are safe.

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