My journey from Damascus to the UK (2)

By Dr. Milad Zinah
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I rested for 3 days when I arrived in Italy and then I travelled from Catania to Milan. I ran into many Syrians as well as Egyptians and Libyans.
I will never forget the story of one man in particular who managed to make it to Italy but his son was on another boat and died with all the people when it sank I then
continued my trip to France and from there to Belgium, then I looked for another smuggler to help me make the trip to the UK.
When I found one, he kept asking for too much money but as I kept calling him and as I insisted on paying him only the small amount of money that I had left, he finally agreed. At night time, I would go with him to the lorry car park of those which are supposed to go to England. Every night he would open one of the lorries and leave me inside, either alone or with some other people who also wanted to make it to the UK.

IMG_1976I tried five times in the middle of a cold and snowy December, and on the fifth night I finally made it to the UK. I cannot express how happy I felt when I finally heard the words “welcome to England.” Once I made sure I was in England through Google maps on my phone, another Syrian guy and I started banging on the doors of the lorry which we were in. The driver did not open the doors until police arrived and one of the policemen was Egyptian. He asked me ‘Why did you leave Egypt?’ and I replied that I could not be in the police force in Egypt because I was Syrian but I could be a policeman in the UK even if I were Syrian.

After a few more questions they took us to a refugee centre. Everything was OK. We were given everything that we needed. They interviewed us as well and.

we stayed for a few days in a hotel close to Heathrow Airport. I was later moved to. A hostel then to sharing a home in Leeds until I received my leave to remain in the UK for five years with work permitted. I moved to London on July 1st and as I studied as a dental technician in Syria, I have been trying to convert my qualifications to the British ones but it is both very expensive and difficult to do so.

At least now I am in a safe place and I am able to start a new life but many Syrians continue to suffer under heavy bombardment and everyday tens of Syrians are getting killed.

Many Syrians want to be in a safe. place to continue their life in peace and to do something for their future. So, I call upon the government of the UK to help those people and to support them since many other countries do not care about them. Most of the Syrians have lost everything and they’re only looking for a safe place to continue their lives.

Photos by Milad

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