Family speak of life in Scotland after fleeing Syria unrest

The family moved to Scotland in 2017.

Family speak of life in Scotland after fleeing Syria unrest UK Home Office

A family who fled the unrest in Syria and set up a restaurant in Clackmannanshire have spoken of their new life in Scotland.

Yasser, 38, and Dima, 34, moved to Alloa in 2017, with their children Tala, now aged ten, and Sileen, aged seven.

Two years ago, they opened their own restaurant, serving Syrian food, by obtaining a loan for the project.

They also now have a four-year-old son Karam, who was born in Scotland.

However, the family’s journey was not an easy one.

“Life was very difficult and almost impossible, due to the lack of the least basic necessities of life such as electricity, water and food,” said Yasser of their life in Syria.

“Add to that, life was not safe. At any moment, we could be bombed or arrested, and this is what happened.

“I was only arrested for 10 days. It was one of the most difficult days of my life that I could not forget about it and I was lucky to get out alive.

“Therefore, my wife and I decided that we should look for a safer place, so we decided to go to Lebanon.”

He continued: “From Lebanon, we were offered to travel to Britain, and we agreed without hesitation, because the situation in Lebanon was not much better than in Syria.”

“When we arrived in Scotland everything was strange but we felt we had reached a safe beach.”

Yasser said that the family was given help in integrating into Scottish society following their move.

“For us, life in Scotland, despite the great difference between the Arab community and the Scottish community, was very good,” he told STV News.

“Add to that the language problem, which formed for us after difficulties and obstacles and made us feel frustrated at times, but the municipality was the biggest support for us by helping us integrate into Scottish society and gave us a lot of advice and guidance that It helped us adapt quickly.”

The coronavirus pandemic brought challenges for the family business, but Yasser said there was a good turnout of people for the restaurant’s re-opening when restrictions were eased.

He said: “We closed our restaurant for two months when the corona pandemic started, but we came back and decided to adapt to the current situation and return to work with home delivery and we took all necessary measures to protect customers from this virus as much as possible.

“People were very happy that we are back to work and there was a fairly good turnout of people when we reopened our restaurant.”

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