Refugee family plans new future safe in Melbourne
Adnan Hanna and his family are establishing new lives in Australia after fleeing Syria following an ordeal in which Mr Hanna was taken hostage by armed militants demanding a ransom for his release.
Sixty-year-old Mr Hanna and his wife, Gorjet Kazar, lived in Lebanon for two years with their three children before resettling in Melbourne.
“It was very frightening experience to be kidnapped. At one time I thought I would not see my family again,” Mr Hanna said.
“When something like that happens you realise what is important – and that is my family and their safety and futre,” he said.
Mr Hanna said he felt comfortable and safe in Australia.
‘‘Australia is a fantastic country. I’m grateful to be here. There’s rule of law, which we didn’t have in Syria,” he said.
‘‘My neighbours have made me feel very welcome. Australians are very nice people.’’
The couple are planning to establish an upholstery business and are improving their English with the help of migrant settlement service AMES Australia.
Their daughter is working as a barista and their son is studying hairdressing.
Mr Hanna said terrorism had destroyed his country and that he couldn’t see a time when he could go back.
‘‘It was once a good place, a beautiful country and we had good lives,’’ he said.
‘‘That’s all been destroyed,’’ Mr Hanna said.
Australia has agreed to accept and extra 12,000 refugees from the Syrian conflict on to the regular annual intake of 13,750.
This intake will increase from the current figures to 16,250 next financial year, and 17,750 the year after that.
The Syria crisis involves a civil war between President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and opposition rebels, enjoined from Iraq by the self-declared Islamic State.
The multisided armed conflict with international interventions began in 2011 within the context of Arab Spring nationwide protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s government, whose forces responded with violent crackdowns.
The conflict morphed into an armed rebellion, now having killed around 300,000 people, left 7.6 million internally displaced, four million refugees and 12.2 million in need of humanitarian assistance.
AMES Australia Senior Journalist