Syrian refugees arrive in Calgary, reunite with families

Before a tearful reunion at the Calgary airport on Monday, the last time Terez Khazaka saw her parents was more than five years ago, before the start of the Syrian war.

Mother and daughter hug for first time in years after being separated by war

Syrian refugees arrive in Calgary

7 years ago
Duration 1:14
16 Syrian refugees reunited with their families in Calgary.

Before a tearful reunion at the Calgary airport on Monday, the last time Terez Khazaka saw her parents was more than five years ago, before the start of the Syrian war.

"It was very emotional, not seeing them and know that they are in danger," she said.

Her parents are among 16 Syrian refugees who arrived in Calgary — part of an estimated 2,300 who will eventually settle here — greeted by a crowd of relatives and residents eager to show support. 

Three Syrian families who arrived at the Calgary airport Monday afternoon received a warm welcome. (CBC)

The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society helped bring this group to Canada, and they are being sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary.

One priest who will help them resettle, and who doesn't want his last name used because he has relatives in Syria, said he knows millions of other Syrians still need help, including some of his own family.

"Making the difference for even one person I believe is worth doing it," he said.

At Sunalta School in southwest Calgary, parents are trying to raise $30,000 to sponsor a Syrian family of four to come to Calgary and teaching the students about the situation in the process. 

Sunalta School to sponsor Syrian refugee family

7 years ago
Duration 1:00
Marg Seeger talks about how students at Sunalta School were handed red balloons for the kickoff of a campaign to sponsor a Syrian refugee family.

"They're understanding and I love talking to the kids about it because its very simple for them. There are people in need and they want to help," said Marg Seeger, who is organizing the sponsorship. 

Details of the federal government's much anticipated Syrian refugee plan will be released on Tuesday, but sources have told CBC News it will limit those accepted into Canada to women, children and families.

For Khazaka, today, that's enough, as she and her mom hugged for the first time in years and a smile came over her mother's face.


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