“We never imagined we would have to move one day. However, we need to find a new home. We have become victims of sectarianism and religious intolerance. We love Syria so much that we refused to take sides. We refused to see it fall victim to its hatred, intolerance and political dispute. Now, home is where the person grows and lives. ”
Ahmed* lived in Damascus his entire life until violence erupted in 2011. Married and responsible for a wife and three lovely daughters, he felt compelled to run for his and his family’s lives. After their house was demolished in 2013, Ahmed decided to move to Egypt. Through his friends in Egypt, Ahmed found a job in one of Egypt’s Delta cities.
After crossing into Lebanon, Ahmed and his family then flew to Egypt. Initially after moving to Egypt, Ahmed planned to settle until the situation in Syria got better and they were able to move back. As the intensity of the violence heightened in Syria and the economic situation in Egypt became harsher for both Egyptians and refugees, Ahmed applied for resettlement to the United States.
“Egyptians have been very hospitable and very supportive. The weather is very similar to Syria. We speak the same language. It has been very difficult to make the decision to move out of Egypt,” explained Ahmed.
However, Ahmed has a medical condition that requires close medical follow up that is unavailable in Egypt. In addition, Ahmed was able to secure a job that only covers the family’s basic needs. “I cannot provide my daughters with better education or healthcare.” Ahmed’s wife, Nesma, described how it felt before she left Syria. “I bid my family farewell every day before I went to work. I was never sure if we would see one another again. Home is where the heart is and my heart is in Syria. But the circumstances were stronger than us.”
Ahmed and his family are moving to the United States as part of the U.S. Resettlement Program facilitated by IOM. “We know we will face challenges but I am certain they will not be as difficult as having to face death every day,” concluded Ahmed.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the interviewee.