World Refugee Day: Syrian refugee Mohamed dreams of reuniting with his six children

Mohamed in his little shop “Aleppo”. (Corina Gheorghiu/UNHCR)

Since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, more than 2.8million people have fled the country. Mohamed, 40, left his home town of Aleppo in early 2013. On World Refugee Day, he tells of how he works hard to rebuild his life from scratch in Romania and can’t wait to see his family:

'I fled my home town, Aleppo, in early 2013, after months of insecurity and fear. It was very difficult. I could no longer go to work and my children had stopped going to school. In fact they were trapped inside our house as walking outside was very dangerous. We were terrified they would be kidnapped or killed. Even now they start to cry when they hear a loud noise – they think it might be a bomb. I came to Romania where I met with my uncle who had fled the country earlier. Soon after my arrival, I received refugee status, started to learn the language and rebuild my life from scratch in the town of Constanza at the sea. I have recently applied for family reunification too.

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I had to leave Syria without my wife and children; none of them had a passport so they had to wait for more than a year before they could get one and flee. They didn’t get too far; they are now waiting in a small town in Turkey. When I left Aleppo, my wife was expecting a baby. Abdi is now almost nine months old and he is the youngest of the six children in the family. I miss them a lot. Every time we talk on the phone my children ask: Daddy, when are we going to see you again?

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With my uncle’s help I rented an apartment and started running a small grocery shop called “Aleppo”. The shopkeepers in the neighbourhood know and greet me every morning. They don’t know my story but they respect me and I respect them. I work hard to keep my small business alive while waiting to be reunited with my loved ones.

Everything I do it is for my family; I think about them all the time. When they get here, the kids must go to school. They will learn Romanian. I don’t think it will be hard; after all they are kids… But the first thing I want to do when they arrive is take them for a walk in the park.

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