A family that fled violence in Syria’s most war-torn city is starting a new life here thanks to the efforts of a local volunteer committee.
Eight members of the Almohomad family arrived in Harriston in the early morning hours of Oct. 18.
The journey to their new home included an 18-hour bus ride to an airport from a refugee camp near Ankara in Turkey, followed by a trans-Atlantic flight that was delayed for three hours before takeoff.
They were met at Pearson International Airport by members of the Minto Refugee Settlement Committee, who brought them the rest of the way.
After getting some sleep at the house supplied for them by the committee, the Almohamads were welcomed to town with a meal hosted by one of the two other Syrian families already living in the area.
Just over three years ago the family was living in the Syrian capital of Aleppo. Since 2012 the city has seen of some of the most intense fighting between rebel fighters and the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Through an interpreter, Ahmed Almohamad told the Wellington Advertiser he made the decision to leave after his home was struck by shell fire.
He said they made the brief journey to the Turkish border by car.
“Then we just got in line, without a passport, without anything,” he said.
They lived for their first seven months in the camp in a tent, before being moved to cabin-style shelter.
The Minto Refugee Settlement Committee is arranging for the family to learn English. The committee is also working to facilitate employment for Ahmed, a construction worker and ceramic tiler in Syria.
“I’d like to work,” said Ahmed.
The committee continues to welcome donations to assist with expenses. Donations can be addressed to Knox-Calvin Presbyterian Church, 135 Elora St. S., Harriston, ON, N0G 1Z0 for the Minto Refugee Settlement Committee. Tax receipts are provided.