The Main Stream

Aug 10, 2012 7:00 PM

Syrian crisis hits close to home for local refugee family

TUCSON - The Syrian crisis hits close to home for families right here in Tucson. Some fear for their loved ones safety, others are working to bring relatives to the U.S.

The latest numbers show nearly 150,000 refugees have fled Syria, headed to neighboring countries like Turkey and Jordan. Nabil Rameed's oldest daughters are two of those refugees. They may be out of Syria, but the fight to reunite the family here in Tucson is far from over.

News 4 Tucson was there for a rare and emotional moment with the Rameed family, when they were able to communicate through Skype with their daughters, 27-year-old Marwa and 24-year-old Asraa. The women had to stay in Syria when their parents and three younger brothers relocated to Tucson in 2010 because they were over 21.

"I'm very afraid, sometimes I hear bad news, I don't tell my wife because I'm afraid to," Nabil said. "She's sick all the time, she has a problem with the heart."

Marwa and Asraa escaped to Jordan about a year ago but that does not mean they are safe. Nabil says his daughters are often seen as outcasts because they live alone, a pain Nabil feels from thousands of miles away.

The local chapter of the International Rescue Committee, or IRC, is doing what it can to help here in Southern Arizona and the Middle East.

"People here in our community are being affected," said Emily Coyle, a communication specialist with IRC Tucson. "They're coming, you know, without money many times, they've seen people killed."

Nabil has petitioned U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to bring his daughters to America but it is a long process with a waiting list. He says all he can do is keep trying.

"I hope they're coming very soon," he said.

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