CLEVELAND – Ahmed Hasan Aliabbi came to Cleveland in November to build a new life. With his wife and four children, he escaped bombings in Aleppo, Syria with just the clothing on their backs.
The horror of the carnage they witnessed is still raw.
“It was very frightening that night. I saw the bodies of adults and children like body parts all over the place,” Aliabbi said through an interpreter. “It was something that, it's so hard for me to express how hard it is watching dead people and people dying.”
After Americans watched scenes of children suffering amid a chemical weapon attack earlier this week, the United States launched a missile attack on a Syrian airfield Thursday.
“It bothered me so much to see what happened,” Aliabbi said of the chemical attack.
“Because these are my people and my family there.”
Aliabbi said he applauds the U.S. action.
"I was really happy that this happened,” he said. “But at the same time, I hoped there was something bigger, more than just attacking the airport.”
He said he wants regime change in Syria to replace President Bashar al-Assad.
The Aliabbi family traveled to Turkey before coming to the United States. Aliabbi said they chose to live in Cleveland because he’d heard of the Cleveland Clinic, and one of his children suffers from neurological health issues.
He is taking English classes and said he will be seeking work as a welder, which he was in Syria.
“I heard the United States is the country of freedom and opportunities, so I wanted to give that to my kids,” he said. “I thank everybody so much for accepting us and taking us in.”