Edmonton man sees it as his 'duty' to bring his family to Canada from Syria

Millions have fled Syria in the past four years due to violence and civil war meet one who now lives in Canada, who is working to have his family join him.

4 million have fled Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011.

Family members Hayat Almawed, left to right, daughter Rama Moued, husband Ahmad Maouaed, sons Maher Mawed, Awees Mawed and Mohammad Mawed and cousin Ghadah Almaouad are shown in this September 11, 2015 handout photo, in Edmonton. (The Canadian Press)

Mohamad Mawed sees it as a duty.

The 46-year-old was raised in Syria and came to Canada in 2012, after working for several years in the travel industry in the United Arab Emirates. He later became a permanent resident in his new home.

In June, after 10 months of paperwork, processing and interviews, Mawed welcomed his brother, his brother's wife and their four children to Edmonton from Lebanon, where they had fled from the civil war in Syria.

Canada's response to the Syrian refugee crisis has become a major issue and The Canadian Press has been reaching out to Syrians, who arrived as refugees, to tell their stories. Since civil war broke out in 2011, more than four million Syrians have fled their country.

Mawed is working to get 14 more relatives, who have also made it to Lebanon, to Canada.

Mawed says his brother, Ahmad, and Ahmad's family are happy and grateful to be in Edmonton.

With help from the Mennonite Central Committee and the Islamic Family and Social Services Association, they have been able to rent a home and start studying English. The youngest child, a 14-year-old girl, has enrolled in school.

Ahmad has had some of his damaged teeth pulled and arrangements are being made to get him dentures.

Mawed hopes for "more speed" in the system so he can get his other loved ones to Canada.

He applied at the beginning of this year for refugee status for his other brother and a sister and their spouses and children. But they were all still in Syria at the time and the applications had to be re-filed when they made it to Lebanon.

Another sister and her family survived a dangerous journey to Turkey and Greece and they recently found out they have been allowed to stay in Germany.

"This is my duty to help and support my family," Mawed says. 

"At least I get one from my family here living with me."—


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?