Calgary

Syrian refugees who say they were assaulted in Forest Lawn worry about kids' safety

Two Syrian refugee fathers say they're scared for their children in Calgary after both men claim they were assaulted in Forest Lawn over the weekend. Police don't believe the incidents to be racially motivated, but say the matter is under investigation.

Alleged attackers described as men in their mid-30s

Wesam Alomare, who recently arrived in Canada as a refugee from Syria, says he was assaulted near his home in Forest Lawn on the weekend. (CBC)

Two Syrian refugee fathers say they're scared for their kids in Calgary after both men say they were assaulted over the weekend in southeast Calgary.

Police don't believe the incidents to be racially motivated, but the alleged assaults have made the newcomers uneasy.

Speaking through a translator, Wesam Alomare says he's nervous about the safety of his children after he was attacked Saturday.

Alomare says he was outside his housing complex in Forest Lawn on Saturday afternoon, where 28 newly arrived Syrian families live.

He says two men approached, yelling in English, then one hit him in the face with an open hand.

"They said so much, but the only word I understood is the f-word," he said.

Alomare says a neighbour scared the attackers off.

Basel Al Dnifat says he had just left his English class when he was confronted by two men and slapped by one of them. (CBC)

About half an hour later and four blocks away, another Syrian man, Basel Al Dnifat, says he had just left his English class at the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society on 17th Avenue and 39th Street S.E. when two men approached him.

He also says a man hit him across the head with an open hand. Al Dnifat says his English teacher helped him call police.

Calgary police confirm they have a report on the incidents and are investigating. At this point the attacks are not being handled as hate crimes.

Al Dnifat says he's grateful his kids were not targeted.

"I can deal with this, but I don't know what my kids would do," Al Dnifat said.

The attackers were in their early 30s and were light-skinned, possibly Asian, white or aboriginal, said Alomare.

One of them had a deep scar on the left side of his neck.

With files from Kate Adach

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