Why I Fled Syria at the Age of 17
Despite the widespread fear and insecurity I never imagined that one day I would be forced to flee Syria.
It all changed when I was arrested.
Similar to most other detainees in the Syrian regime’s prisons, there was no particular reason for my abduction.
That dreary period really convinced me of the incredible injustice pervading Syria.
My arrest itself was not the main problem.
Rather it was the fear that, now that I was a known detainee, my name could spread to most checkpoints.
What made the situation worse was the regime’s fierce demand for military service for my brother, the service of killing the innocent. My brother strongly rejected, prompting my father to make a difficult decision. A choice that radically changed our lives and led to the migration to Europe.
The decision was shocking for everyone, yet all our friends and family members encouraged and prayed for us, first of all my mother. She had always been wonderful and compassionate and said: “It is okay my kids, go, take the future in your own hands, make me proud of you and do not forget, Allah is always with you.” These words prompted us, her children, to become men.
We packed only the most necessary belongings and set off. My father, my brother and me.
It was a day I will never forget it. We left our home, our family and our friends took with us only our memories.
We travelled to Turkey in search of a safe path away from the death boats because I’m not a good swimmer, but our search failed. My dad and brother promised to help me and told me that it is not so difficult especially with life jackets. I put trust in Allah and we boarded a small inflatable boat toward Greece in a night full of stars. I said to my brother: “You have to know, even if we die today I would be happy because we are together.”
My brother has always helped me to overcome difficulties.
The trip took five hours. When we saw the beach of Greece we were relieved and our anticipation was elevated as the Greek Coast Guard quickly came towards us. We knew that we could not go any further with the boat, because if the Coast Guard were to catch us they would have sent us back to Turkey. Leaving us no choice we capsized the boat and dropped into the water. It all happened fast, I didn’t feel panic, I didn’t feel scared. I remembered my mother’s words, “Allah is with us”, and that is how I felt.
We were eventually rescued by the Greek Coast Guard and they took us to Samouth to a miserable refugee camp. We stayed there for 12 days until we were given papers allowing us to reside in Greece for couple of months. We traveled to Athens, the capital of Greece, where we discovered our path to Germany.
My father bought a fake passport with my picture on it from a smuggler. Then I took a plane to Germany via France.
Having arrived in Germany, I handed myself over to the authorities asking for safety. There was a girl, who helped me with translation. I will never forget her words, “Do not worry, everything will be okay, you are in safe now”.
My father followed me after one week using the same method.
Unfortunately, my brother’s striking Arabic appearance made it much more difficult for him. He really suffered before being able to catch up with us after two months.
Today, we have permanent residency permission and have been living close to Berlin for more than a year.
We have met a lot of people, who, so far, are helping us. Some of them have become like family.
I could not complete high school in Syria, hence I go to school here again. I’m still in touch with my mother and with my friends back in Syria.
It’s a new beginning, a difficult but also bright new chapter in my life. I will finish high school and attend university, where I hope to study Computer Science.
I will code programs again.
I will write stories and poems again.
I will do it all again as I used to in Syria, just better.
It is not easy, but I will always remember that Allah is with me.