Syrian families reunited in Regina
The airport in Regina was filled with cheers, hugs, and smiles as a Syrian family was reunited
The Regina International Airport was filled with cheers, hugs, and smiles as a Syrian family was reunited.
On Friday, Sally Mitri hugged her cousin, Antoinette Fakhoury, for the first time in seven years.
"[It was] a whole mix up of emotions. We were all, you know, welcoming a moment that we've been really, really waiting for and it's happening," Mitri said.
"We were very grateful a lot of people came to join us for that beautiful moment. It was wonderful. I don't think I have enough words to describe how beautiful it was."
Mitri is the owner of Abstractions Café, but is originally from Aleppo, Syria. She watched from Saskatchewan as the crisis in her home country took hold, worrying daily about her cousin and her family.
"It started being very unsafe for them to be there, you know, especially [because] they have a 16 year-old girl, they have a 19-year-old boy. It was very unsafe," Mitri said.
"There were kidnappings. There were cases of rape and killing and especially they are Christian… Being Christians, [they] are being very much targeted over there."
Mitri's cousin and her family ran a clothing store in Syria, but they had to close up shop with the economic downturn associated with the civil war. Mitri said they had "no electricity, no water, no food."
Last June, the family fled to Lebanon and stayed with other family members.
"We talked about it and I said 'if I can help I will be more than happy to do so'," Mitri said.
The process to bring the family to Canada began quickly and Mitri said she had to fill out paperwork to show that she would support the family until they could get on their feet. The day finally came and they arrived in Regina to a large group of supporters holding posters, welcoming them to their new home.
"They are overwhelmed. From the welcoming at the airport, they said, 'You know, we haven't felt this way for such a long time'," Mitri said. "They feel appreciated."
Now that they have arrived, Mitri said they are eager to start language classes and get part-time jobs.
"The sooner they get a job the faster they will be able blend in the society, use the language more, and be part of this beautiful city," she said.
For their first Family Day in Saskatchewan, Mitri added it would be a very big family affair.
"My parents will come over, my brother will come over — the kids are so happy," she said. "My daughter is just overwhelmed with joy."