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Obama leaves touching welcome note on Syrian refugee’s Humans of New York story

‘Welcome to your new home. You’re part of what makes America great,' says president

President Barack Obama left a touching welcome note on a Syrian refugee's story
President Barack Obama left a touching welcome note on a Syrian refugee's story

President Barack Obama has left a touching welcome note to a Syrian refugee about to arrive in the US.

The personal story of a Syrian scientist who lost his wife and one of his children when a missile ripped through his home was shared in a series of seven photos on the Humans of New York (HONY) Facebook page.

The unnamed scientist, who has a PhD, has been cleared for resettlement with his remaining children and will soon be moving to Michigan.

(1/7) “My parents were supportive of my education, but they didn’t direct me. My father was a farmer and my mother was...

Posted by Humans of New York on Tuesday, December 8, 2015

His story prompted Mr Obama to leave a comment on the last photo, saying: “As a husband and a father, I cannot even begin to imagine the loss you’ve endured.

“You and your family are an inspiration. I know that the great people of Michigan will embrace you with the compassion and support you deserve.

“Yes, you can still make a difference in the world, and we’re proud that you’ll pursue your dreams here.

“Welcome to your new home. You’re part of what makes America great.”

(7/7) “I still think I have a chance to make a difference in the world. I have several inventions that I’m hoping to...

Posted by Humans of New York on Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The man, who has been living in Turkey for two years after escaping from Syria, shared his life story of becoming a scientist with the ultimate goal of making a “lasting contribution to humanity”.

He spoke of his achievements – graduating high school with “the third highest scores in all of Syria”, receiving a scholarship to pursue his PhD, marrying his wife, and raising their children.

Trudeau to welcome first of daily Syrian refugee flights to Canada

After the deaths of his wife and daughter, he fled with the rest of his children to Turkey, where he struggles to find work in a country that he says does not “respect” him.

He said he has also developed cancer in his stomach.

“The only reason I can speak to you right now is because I’ve taken a painkiller,” he tells HONY.

“I can barely eat. I’m bleeding internally. I’ve gone to five hospitals here. They tell me there’s nothing they can do, especially because I have no insurance and no benefits.

The scientist hopes Michigan will be a safe place “where they respect science”.

“I want to be a person again,” he said. “I don’t want the world to think I’m over. I’m still here.”

The final photo in the series has been shared over 26,000 times, and Mr Obama's comment has received over 131,000 likes.

Humans of New York is a photojournalism project founded by Brandon Stanton. It usually focuses on people living in New York, but is currently running a series on twelve Syrian families cleared for resettlement in the US.

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