‘We Were Awaiting Death:’ A Refugee’s Journey from Syria to Texas

Some Syrian refugees are making their way to Texas. Here’s one of their stories.

By Rhonda Fanning and Hady MawajdehSeptember 8, 2015 9:45 am,

The Syrian Civil War has created a humanitarian crisis first felt in the refugee camps – and now beginning to stretch across the globe. But the magnitude of it hasn’t hit home with many westerners until recently.

First, there was the wave of would-be migrants seeking asylum in Europe. But the desperation of their plight galvanized last week by a single, now famous image, of the three-year-old boy, his lifeless body washed ashore on a Turkish beach.

He had drowned alongside his mother and five-year-old brother as the family attempted to flee to the Greek island of Kos. The boat they were traveling in never made it.

Of the millions displaced by the Syrian civil war and the atrocities committed by ISIS terrorists hundreds of those trying to get away from the violence have ended up here, in Texas.

One of those individuals, Abdulrahman Zetoun, arrived in America back in January. In Syria, life was riddled with violence.

“We used to wake up and sleep with the sounds of bombs and explosions and machine guns,” Zetoun says. “To see every day dead bodies and injured peoples on the sides of the roads.”

Zetoun is the refugee coordinator at Shaam Relief. He moved to America from Turkey on January 7, thanks to his mother, who paid a substantial amount of money to the Syrian government to get passports that allowed him to get out Turkey and into Syria. Zetoun needed expensive meds in Syria. Eventually, Zetoun was able to make his way to Dallas.

When Zetoun first arrived in Texas, he found a job working night shifts, commuting by bike even during the springtime downpours that flooded Texas.

“I was every day in that flood going in the rain trying to get my job,” Zetoun says. He may visit Syria again eventually but not in the near future.

“Right now, Texas is my home,” he says.

Listen to the full interview in the player above.