Anyone could get hit by the grenades. This time it was his turn. Muhammad, 30, lost his foot and fled to Sweden with the hope of getting better healthcare. This is his story.
Before the war, I lived in Damascus. My grades from high school weren't good enough for me to go on to university. I did my military service for two years, and moved to the al-Qadam neighborhood in Damascus.
When the war started, I lived in an area in Damascus with Palestinian refugee camps. I worked in a clothing store in the al-Mukhayyam area, where we organised demonstrations against the regime. Then the army took control over some of the districts in southern Damascus.
I tried leaving the city and get to Daraa, but my family stopped me. They were worried about the security situation in Daraa. I kept on working as usual, but it was difficult to import clothes and other items that the store needed, due to harassments by the regime.
The regime lost control of al-Mukhayyam and launched a siege of the area. People were starving and I was one of the ones affected by the blockade. We were lacking food and the prices all went up. After a while, bombs started falling over the area. At that time, the Free Syrian Army controlled the area, but they were eventually replaced by Isis.
Their warriors threatened me on multiple occasions. After a while, I decided to move to the neighboring district Yilda.
I sold everything I had, my car and all my valuables, to pay him off.
While I was leaving al-Mukhayyam, a grenade exploded right next to me. I thank God that I survived. But the doctors had to amputate my left foot due to insufficient medical equipment, and I suffered multiple other injuries. It was a very painful experience.
I tried finding a way out of the city to get to Daraa, and that's when I started thinking about leaving Syria. I made several attempts during a six months period, before I was able to pay a regime soldier to get me out. I sold everything I had, my car and all my valuables, to pay him off. I first got to Daraa where my family was. That was the first time I met them in five years time.
I stayed there for two weeks before traveling to Jordan to seek medical aid and get a prosthesis. I just wanted to get my old life back. But I couldn't afford medical treatment in Jordan so I had to go to Turkey with financial help from my friends.
I stayed in Turkey for one month before heading off to Greece. The trip with the rubber boat was easy. We were 16 passengers in total, including 14 children. My friend helped me. He advised me not to bring any cash on the boat, and let him transfer them once I reached Greece. Traveling by foot was hard. I didn't feel very well. The Hungarian and Greek police were beating us and treated us immorally in general.
The Austrian people treated us nicely and with sympathy. I was invited to stay with an Austrian family for a couple of days. They even helped me buying a ticket to Germany.
At first, I intended to get to Germany or the Netherlands to receive proper medical care. But after speaking with some friends in Sweden, I was attracted to their descriptions of the humanistic treatment one receives in Sweden, the strong sympathy and the respect for religious beliefs. So I set course for Sweden. My friends told me that the medical care is the same in all EU countries and that I would be taken care of properly in Sweden.
I think people that have recently arrived here should be given the opportunity to learn the language faster, before you get your residence permit.
When I arrived in October 2015 I was very happy over the opportunity to start a new life. At the same time, I felt sad about the fact that I had left my home country. The things I had heard about Sweden turned out to be true, except for the medical care part.
I'm currently living in an asylum accommodation in Hällefors, Örebro. I want to learn the language and then find a job that works with my disability. But I'm still waiting for my residence permit.
I think people that have recently arrived here should be given the opportunity to learn the language faster, before you get your residence permit. And the authorities should process your case faster. Newcomers should be forced to work a few hours a week in order to improve their language skills and teach them about the life in Sweden. And us newcomers ought to respect Swedish laws and traditions.
I worry that the war in Syria will never end. And that the number of racists who want to send off refugees will increase.
I think I will move back to Syria after the war. It's my home country and I can't imagine anyone wanting to stay their whole life so far away from their home. I love my home country. If it hadn't been for the war, I never would have left. I miss my family, my mother, my father, my siblings and the Old Town in Damascus.