Syrian family reunited in Fredericton after being separated for three years
CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown
Published Sunday, March 17, 2019 9:05AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, March 17, 2019 9:48AM EDT
In a reunion at a Fredericton airport that left many onlookers speechless, a Syrian family was made whole again after being separated for more than three years.
The Al Khlief brothers and their families have been separated since 2016, when one brother and his family came to Canada as part of the government’s efforts to resettle thousands of Syrian refugees. The other brother stayed behind in Syria.
At the time, a group of St. Thomas University professors were looking for ways to welcome Syrian newcomers and heard that the whole Al Khlief family wasn’t in Canada.
Danielle Connell, a research services officer at the university, told CTV Atlantic that she and her colleagues were “moved greatly by the situation” and decided to privately sponsor the rest of the family to come to New Brunswick.
With the help of Liberal MP Matt DeCourcey, they were able to sift through all of the paperwork.
Connell said that seeing the family reunite was “worth every question and every email.”
Raghad Al Khlief, a daughter of the brother who came to Canada, could barely stand as she waited for her aunt, uncle and four cousins to get off the plane.
“I don’t know how I’m feeling. I cannot even describe it right now. It’s like all mixed together,” Raghad told CTV Atlantic. She said she felt “happy, nervous, shaking – everything, like, I could feel right now.”
Everyone, including onlookers, cheered and clapped for the family of six as they walked into the arrivals area of the Fredericton International Airport.
Connell said that the Al Khlief families will be living together in the same house, which has been furnished with donations from members of the community.
“It’s the best feeling you can have where you’re doing a good thing [and] you’re helping people,” she said.