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Syrian Refugees Call NEPA Home

SCRANTON — As civil war continues to rage in their country, millions of Syrians flee the violence in their own country, heading for other countries like G...
syrian refugees

SCRANTON -- As civil war continues to rage in their country, millions of Syrians flee the violence in their own country, heading for other countries like Germany, France and Great Britain.

Thousands are also being settled in the United States, including here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. So far this year, two Syrian families have made this area home; one is living in Scranton, the other in Wilkes-Barre. Another family is scheduled to arrive this week.

"I have been at the airport when they have arrived. They get off the plane. They have a tag around their neck. They have a bag in their hand. They come literally with themselves. It's a joy to see how grateful they are to be in this country,” said Sister Janet Jeffers of Lackawanna/Wayne Counties Catholic Social Services.

As grateful as they are to be here, those helping them say the refugees are very sad to be away from their homeland and worried about those left behind there.

"Usually when they try to tell me their stories, they are crying and it is very heartbreaking hearing the stories. All of them, they have family members killed or dead because of the war. It is heart-breaking,” said Sonya Sarner, program director for refugee and immigration services for Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton.

Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton helps the refugees settle in the area, giving them what they need, in the way of donated clothing other goods and services, help finding an apartment, and help landing a job.

They accept as many refugees as the State Department says and from wherever the State Department allows.

"They're all being brought here through the State Department. They're all documented. They're hard-working people. It's because so many of our people have offered them jobs that so many of our refugees have done absolutely fantastic. It's unbelievable. It's really the American dream,” said Monsignor Joseph Kelly of the Scranton Diocese.

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