Syrian refugees open up about move to Houston

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Houston leads the nation in the number of refugee resettlements (KTRK)

As the conflict in Syria rages on, the United States has agreed to take in more Syrian refugees than ever before.

About 10,000 are expected to arrive by the end of 2016, and most of them will be coming to Houston, which leads the nation in the number of refugee resettlements.

Eyewitness News spoke to one Syrian family who recently relocated to Southwest Houston. ABC-13 agreed to disguise their identities because they still have family in Syria, who they believe are in danger.

Since their move, the family is slowly learning how to live and laugh again.

"I don't talk about it in front of the kids," said K.M.

K.M. was born in Damascus, the Syrian capital. He was a chef and a family man who married young and had three children. He and his family are devout Muslims.

After the 2011 revolution, began participating in non-violent protests and housed and fed other demonstrators.

In a year and a half, he was arrested five times.

"They put in you in a van, like five or six people, and they keep beating you like animals," he said. "They crucify you, they just do all kinds of torturing you know, even like private parts."

K.M. was once taken to a hospital for what he thought was treatment.

"After the hospital, I don't remember what happened. I just woke up and saw this huge cut in my stomach," he recalled.

Months later, he learned his right kidney was gone.

But K.M.'s lowest point came when his son was 6 years old. During a raid at the family's home, K.M. said police broke his son's arm, arrested his father, then burned down the home.

"After that I lost fear. There was no more fear. I was broken. I'm not scared anymore," he said.

The young family bribed their way out of the country and escaped to Egypt. Two years later, the United Nations accepted their refugee applications.

They came to the United States with almost nothing but a few momentos, including a stained family photograph. Since the move, they are trying to learn a new culture and embrace new customs.

"I'm trying to be part of the community, talk to people, to get my language. The future of my children is going to be good," K.M. said.

The family will receive government assistance for the next two months, but after that they will be on their own. Even with all that is still to overcome, K.M. smiles whenever asked about their future here in America.

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