Ammar*, 20 years old refugee from Syria. Photo: UNHCR Montenegro
“I’m a huge football fan. My favourite club is Real Madrid and I hardly ever missed any of their games. I normally used to watch the matches at home with my father, who is an ardent supporter of Barcelona. Although I’m fond of Real, I don’t dislike Barcelona, because I still love the way they play.
The best moments were when the two of us watched El Classico together. It was so fun! We would pull on the jerseys of our favourite teams and cheer so loudly that someone could have thought we were having an argument. But sometimes one of us would indeed get very nervous, which is reasonable if your team is losing. I miss those times.”
Ammar fled from Syria in April this year together with his seven-year old sister, Hala. Their parents and a little brother stayed in the war-torn city of Aleppo, as they could not leave the disabled grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and is unable to take care of herself. Sadly, their older brother died as a result of the war.
“I miss my family so much. I talk to them every day on the phone. My mother cannot hold tears when she calls us, as she is very worried about my sister and me”, says this young man, who dreams of continuing his studies to become an energy engineer.
His sister is a second grader, but unfortunately, she was unable to complete her finals as they set out on their perilous journey to Europe earlier. “She’s very clever and the best in her class. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up”, says Ammar proudly.
For Ammar, his family is more important than anything. His deepest hope is to ensure a safe and happy life for his nearest and dearest, away from conflict and violence. “But now, I just want to see them”, he says with a look of profound sorrow.
Refugees. Ordinary people living through extraordinary times. Share their stories.
Syria’s bloody civil war has displaced almost half the country’s population, with more than 4 million refugees registered.
*Names were changed for protection reasons.