HAMTRAMCK (WWJ) – In Hamtramck, six families — about 35 refugees — are being put up in apartments owned by a Syrian man. They get one month rent free, find jobs, then pay their way from there.
Samir Alraschdan, who left Syria with his wife and seven children, through a translator told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill that soldiers would burst into their homes and slaughter people on the spot.READ MORE: The Detroit Zoo To Host Its Final Weekend Of Family-Friendly Halloween Event 'Zoo Boo' Oct. 22-24
Two of his nephews were killed in bombing attacks and third was maimed by shrapnel.
“And it got to a point where they were raping our women…the soldiers in the streets and the soldiers that were sent from abroad, from Iran, from Hezbollah,” Alraschdan said.
Alraschdan left a millwright business, where he employed 13 people, and his home behind. His family has been in the U.S. since August.
“I keep flashbacks on the bombings and I get flashbacks of all the killings, but I’m thankful for this great country, that is the county of human rights, to allow us to have new lives here,” he said. “And we are here to contribute to this country.”
Fasel Ahmed Omar, who has been in Detroit for about a month, said life in Syria was a living hell for she, her husband and their four children.
She said troops would travel through her town and randomly fire on people in sniper-style attacks twice a day. She said she and her family were forced to lie on the floor as bullets tore through their home.READ MORE: Tillson Street's Halloween Displays Draws Thousands
After the bombings began, Omar said, a rocket landed in her front yard.
“I knew that every rocket had a second rocket right after it, and I knew that the second one was coming, and I just didn’t know what to do, and I was just taking my children…everybody was running around in terror,” Omar said. “I will never forget that day. It was like the day of judgement.”
That’s when the family fled to Jordan. After about a year of background checks, they landed in the U.S. Her husband has a job, the three older children are in school, and 4-year-old Mahmood is already learning English.
“We hope that our children will go through the education system and attain the highest levels of education,” Omar said. “We want to raise our heads high with our children.”
Bassam Al Baseed, a Syrian who came to Hamtramck with his family, talked about how difficult it was to get into the U.S.
“There’s very extensive screening and they look into even the minute details of your background,” Al Baseed said. “In Arabic, (we’d say) they’ve pretty much taken the seeds apart and looked inside of them; that’s how extensive the security process is.”
“It’s very difficult for me to imagine that anybody can make it through that process,” he said.MORE NEWS: Kalamazoo Tests For Lead Exposure Following High-Lead Level Reports In Other Michigan Cities
The families were placed in Hamtramck with the help of the Syrian American Rescue Network. The diverse Detroit enclave known for its Polish heritage recently made headlines when it elected what’s believed to be the nation’s first Muslim-majority City Council.