Edmonton man sees it as his ‘duty’ to bring his family to Canada from Syria

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EDMONTON — Mohamad Mawed sees it as a duty.

The 46-year-old was raised in Syria and came to Canada in 2012, after working for several years in the travel industry in the United Arab Emirates. He later became a permanent resident in his new home.

In June, after 10 months of paperwork, processing and interviews, Mawed welcomed his brother, his brother’s wife and their four children to Edmonton from Lebanon, where they had fled from the civil war in Syria. 

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Canada’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis has become a major issue and The Canadian Press has been reaching out to Syrians, who arrived as refugees, to tell their stories. Since civil war broke out in 2011, more than four million Syrians have fled their country.

Mawed is working to get 14 more relatives, who have also made it to Lebanon, to Canada.

Mawed says his brother, Ahmad, and Ahmad’s family are happy and grateful to be in Edmonton.

With help from the Mennonite Central Committee and the Islamic Family and Social Services Association, they have been able to rent a home and start studying English. The youngest child, a 14-year-old girl, has enrolled in school.

Ahmad has had some of his damaged teeth pulled and arrangements are being made to get him dentures.

Mawed hopes for “more speed” in the system so he can get his other loved ones to Canada.

He applied at the beginning of this year for refugee status for his other brother and a sister and their spouses and children. But they were all still in Syria at the time and the applications had to be re-filed when they made it to Lebanon.


Another sister and her family survived a dangerous journey to Turkey and Greece and they recently found out they have been allowed to stay in Germany.

“This is my duty to help and support my family,” Mawed says. “At least I get one from my family here living with me.”


Chris Purdy, The Canadian Press

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