37-year-old Alaa Eddin Karnabeh and his family fled Syria 6 years ago after the civil war made their lives unbearable. After a long and difficult journey, they found safety in Bristol.
The family entered the UK under the Government’s Vulnerable Persons’ Resettlement Scheme. From his new home in Eaton, Mr Karnabeh recounted their departure from Damascus in 2012, and their long search for sanctuary which led them through several countries, and finally, to the door of the United Nations.
There, with the help of an Interpreter, Mr Karnabeh explained how poor living conditions, and constant fear made them leave their country for Lebanon. The situation in Lebanon was no different so the family left for Egypt. No safer in Egypt, they made the trip to Turkey where Mr Karnabeh hoped they would get to Europe by sea.
However, the tragic death of a three-year-old Syrian boy in the Mediterranean Sea in September 2015, put paid to that plan. They then decided to settle in Turkey, which proved difficult, so they embarked on a risky journey back to Egypt through Sudan. However, life for them in Egypt was just as bad.
In 2016 they registered with United nations High Commission for Refugees. After two years they were sent to England.
Expressing his gratitude Mr Karnabeh spoke highly of Bristol, calling it a beautiful city, and praising the welcoming, and respectful nature of the citizens. The family appears content, and have been granted five-year refugee status. He also praised the collaborative approach which has made Bristol a home for about 11,000 people from refugee backgrounds.
He also expressed his willingness to give back to the country and his hope that all Syrians in the UK do the same.