Montreal

Syrian refugee settling in Montreal praises Canadian hospitality

Ghattas Kaskas, 26, fled Damascus and lived in Beirut for a year before arriving in Canada in December.

Ghattas Kaskas, 26, slowly adapting to life in Montreal

Ghattas Kaskas says friendly Canadians have helped make Montreal's long, cold winter a little easier.

​"When anyone hears I'm Syrian, they smile and welcome me," said Kaskas, a 26-year-old refugee who arrived here in December.

Kaskas fled Damascus and lived in Beirut for a year before coming to Canada.

He now lives with his uncle and brother in Montreal's Saint-Laurent borough.

He's been following the conditions of many Syrian refugees in Europe and calls it heartbreaking. It makes him more thankful for the welcome he's received in Canada.

"I see in this country that they like Syrian people," Kaskas told CBC Montreal's Daybreak on Friday. 

"I would want to become Canadian if it becomes possible. "

Despite his age making him a viable target for recruitment by fighter groups in Syria, Kaskas said he was never approached because he was in university and left as soon as he finished.

Nobody wants to live between wars. I came here to live a safe life.- Syrian refugee Ghattas Kaskas

"No one ever tried to get me to their side," he said. 

"I graduated and came here so I didn't face that. Nobody likes holding guns. Nobody wants to live between wars. I came here to live a safe life."

Despite the warm welcome he's received, Kaskas misses his home culture and family – his mother and father stayed in Damascus.

Quebec has welcomed over 5,000 Syrian refugees as of February.

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