Edmonton airport reunion brings Syrian family back together
'It's a dream coming true,' Mohammed Moqdad says of welcoming relatives to their new country
They waited, a quiet cluster of them, in the arrivals area of the Edmonton International Airport.
Men in dark coats, women in hijabs. Children holding balloons.
Someone clutched a hand-printed Welcome to Canada sign. English on one side, Arabic on the other.
The Hasam family tried their best to stay calm.
Then the glass doors parted, and their dreams came true.
Hugs, tears, smiles all around for this Syrian family reunited after too many years apart, relatives who can now share their brave new world, all together.
"It's a dream coming true," said Mohammed Moqdad, who was there at Edmonton International Airport waiting for six members of his wife's family. "I really cannot describe it the right way."
He tried anyway. Tried to sum up in a few words what it meant to have his family members safe at last, to know their future would be much brighter than their recent past.
"They ran away from Syria to Jordan," Moqdad said. "They were there for the last three years and they were suffering. Situations there are really bad."
Moqdad has been in Edmonton almost five years and is a permanent resident. Next week he'll go through his own citizenship ceremony.
He said the family started the refugee process for his in-laws about seven months ago. He was quick to thank several groups, including their local Catholic church and the Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, who helped along the way.
Asked how the newcomers felt, Moqdad translated for his father-in-law.
"They are very happy entering Canada," he said, "the land of peace and dignity."
The smile on the older man's face needed no interpretation.