JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A family of refugees from Syria has been trying to rebuild in Jersey City after arriving in the United States this summer.
As CBS2’s Mary Calvi reported, Hussam al Roustom, his wife Suha, and their two children were forced out of Syria by war.
“Because bullets didn’t have a specific target, it would just go anywhere, whether it was children, women, male,” al Roustom said in Arabic.
But before the bombs started falling, the family owned a house and ran a supermarket. Life was good in their city of Homs.
“And I was living a normal life as any human being would,” al Roustom said.
The family finally fled Syria in 2013, making their way through the desert to a Jordanian refugee camp and eventually to New Jersey this past June. They were greeted by members of Church World Service – a resettlement organization that helps refugees find a job, learn English, and perhaps more importantly, find a place to call home.
“We do the apartment setup is one of them. We have groceries in their apartment. We have a meal ready for them after they arrive from the airport,” said Church World Service director Mahmoud Mahmoud.
The al Roustom family is among 1,500 Syrian refugees who have been resettled in the U.S. so far out of an estimated 4 million who had fled the country in the past five years since the war started.
Under pressure to do more to respond to the refugee crisis overwhelming Europe, the Obama administration announced this month that 10,000 Syrian refugees would be accepted in the coming fiscal year. Al Roustom was hopeful that other relatives would be able to follow.
Meantime, his 7-year-old son — who has autism — and his 3-year-ol daughter, are adjusting to their new life.
Al Roustom said leaving their home country was wrenching, but a lot needs to change before they consider going back.
“What needs to happen is to have the regime fall; to have all these terrorist organizations disappear — with specificity to ISIS,” he said. “They need to disappear from Syria.”
For now, it is the little things that are helping the family adjust to their new lives.
Al Roustom just started a job with a moving company. There are 73 Syrian families that now call New Jersey home.