We are deeply indebted to the UAE: Syrian expats

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We are deeply indebted to the UAE: Syrian expats
Yazen Al Melhelm (extreme right) along with his friends. Melhelm moved to Dubai from war-torn Syria four years ago to continue his education in business and economics

Dubai - With civil war ravaging the country, Syrian expats in UAE thank their stars they are here

By Sana Altaf

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Published: Wed 25 May 2016, 4:44 PM

Last updated: Wed 25 May 2016, 6:00 PM

Four years back, Yezen never thought of coming to Dubai. He lived a life of any 18 year-old-youth who would punctually attend his school, freak out with friends and dream big about his future. Then, a day came when everything around him changed.
Syria became a victim of war and everything went haywire. Bombings and bloodshed became the normal course of the day. Yazen, like thousands others, began to live in fear.
He would be mostly confined to home as the danger of getting killed or injured loomed large.
"I had completed my first year of college when the war began. I could not go ahead with my education as going to college was risky amid bombing and shelling," said 21 year old Yazen from Syria.
Yazen Al Melhem moved to Dubai to continue his education in business and economics. He wished to be director of accounts or a banker. But unable to bear the cost of education in Dubai, he chose to work as a butler in one of the leading hotels of the country.
"I had to take up some job for my living. Now everything is good," said Yazen told Khaleej Times.
Yazen says he is happy in Dubai as the place is safer. He loves the place for its culture and Islamic traditions.
"This place is better for migrants than other countries as it is safer and culturally at par with ours."
Thirty three-year-old E.A had lost hope after the school where he taught (English) was bombed in Syria. The school was destroyed leaving him jobless and no means to support his family consisting of his wife and a child.
He decided to move to the UAE for a better life and the country didn't let him down.
Today, he is working in tourism sector while his wife has taken up teaching in a school. The couple feels that the UAE is the safest place for the better future of their child.
Thirty-year-old Shadi who moved his family from Syria to Dubai post war, says Dubai makes them feel safer and free. Though he has been in the UAE for over ten years, his children, wife and parents were living in Syria until the war began.
" I had no option but to get them all here because it was no more safe there. I would be worried about them all the time," said Shadi, who lives in Sharjah while some members of his family live in Dubai. Shadi has a business of his own and is able to educate his two children as well.
He seconds Yazen on the UAE being a better place for migrants.
" This place is full of opportunities for youth. People respect each other's values, religion and culture. Syrians feel much more comfortable in this Arab culture," Shadi told Khaleej Times.
Syria has been at war since 2011, forcing millions of Syrians to migrate to different countries like UAE, Europe and Turkey. Some Syrian youth who were kids when they arrived in UAE don't seem to have much idea about the war.
Fourteen year old R.G. was 10-year-old when she moved to Dubai with her family.
Her father works as a manager in a hotel in Dubai. "There is some bombing happening there. I don't know exactly. But I love Dubai," says R.G. who has lots of friends from different communities here. While the UAE has emerged as a safe haven for Syrians, they wish to see peace in their homeland so that they can one day return home. "There are many occasions when we miss home. We want to go back. We want the war to end," the youth said unanimously.

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