“When the war arrived in our city, Deir Ez-Zor, we started moving from place to place around Syria up until it became too difficult and too dangerous to be there. We left our homeland for Turkey, where we spent 3 years, living in a camp close to the border with Syria. The location meant that we never lost contact with the war, we could see the bombings and hear the shelling on the other side of the border. Mentally, nothing had improved for us and physically, for three years, we were sharing a small tent between six persons. An ordeal, it was.
The living conditions at the camp and the fact that our children didn’t have a chance to further their education in Turkey, made me and my wife take the decision to leave for Europe. We crossed to Greece on a rubber boat, we stared into the face of death but we managed to arrive on the island of Lesvos. It was February 2016.
The Greek people have been really supportive to us during a difficult time, this is a memory that will stay. The worst part in Greece was the time we spent at the northern border, at the makeshift camp of Idomeni. There was no electricity, we were sleeping on the ground, the toilets were a mess and we could only cook on a fire, in the open. After seven months we moved to the accommodation centre of Koutsohero, close to Larissa in central Greece, which was a vast improvement for us. We left Koutsohero only last night and arrived here directly. Tomorrow, we will fly to the Netherlands.
We have friends and family in the Netherlands, so we are happy that we will relocate there. My wife’s siblings have relocated there about 2.5 months ago under the same EU scheme and we can hardly wait to meet them again. Our family says that the people of the Netherlands are kind to them, they treat them fairly and they are happy.
I used to be a farmer in Syria and I hope I will be able to find something similar to do in the Netherlands, I know that it has a very strong agricultural sector. My wife is a teacher and we have four children together: Noor is 20 years old and she wishes to attend university. Ammar, my boy, is 18 and the twins, Bashar and Manar, are 13.
The main thing for us is to finally have a sense of stability. We have been emotionally scarred by the war, the slightest noise makes us jump from our seats. For our young daughter it is even worse, she suffers from severe psychological trauma and she needs assistance. Furthermore, we wish that our children will be able to finally go back to school and as for us, we hope to find a job to be able to support them. It is very important to have some stability in life. Without it, how can one make plans for the future and set goals?”.
Through the EU Relocation Programme, the International Organization for Migration in Greece (IOM) supports the Government of Greece in relocating with safety and dignity asylum seekers to other EU Member States of Relocation (MSR). The Programme is funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union (AMIF).