The only thing Jamil has left of his son is a picture where he lies dead, with two number written on his forehead.

The war killed many in his family. 57 year old Jamal decided to leave Damaskus after losing his son. He hoped to spend the rest of his days in safety, but life in Sweden feels like a prison. This is Jamils story.

We didn’t understand that it was a civil war, because we had lived our lived in safety. I went to work as a broker and driving instructor every day. After work I met with friends, we laughed together and talked about the future – we enjoyed life. I remember that I had thoughts about if my son would get married, and that’s when the war broke out.

When a grenade hit my family's house, my mother and father got killed. Three months later my little brother, who was 38 years old, got killed by a rocket.

One day the military force came to our house and took one of my sons. Four days later they came back and took his brother, who at the time was in the middle of his two-year military service. We had no idea what happened to them so we asked around, even bribed people, to get information.

I just want to work, have friends and live what's left of my life in peace,

I learned that one of my sons, Anas, died after being tortured. I didn’t even get to pick up his body, they just gave me his belongings. But I put my life in God's hands and put all my strength into getting my other son free. After two years of paying them money, I got him out and sent him straight to Turkey and on to Germany. Soon after, I sent my daughter with her husband and their children away.

I had no one left in my homeland to care or worry about. When I heard that I was wanted by the security service, I was afraid they would kill me for having sent off my son, I decided to escape.

I wanted to live the days that are left of my life and leave everything that happened behind me. My suffering was great during the journey, but I made it. Thank God.

I was afraid I was going to die before I got to see my children again.

I travelled to Lebanon and Turkey, from there by sea to Greece, Macedonia, Austria, Germany and Sweden. The worst thing was to cross the sea. I was very scared because I can’t swim and I have great pain in my once broken hips.

I was afraid I was going to die before I got to see my children again, before I got to know a world where a brother doesn’t kill his brother, where there is love.

The escape route

Before I came to Turkey, I hadn’t decided where I would escape to. But I decided to go to Sweden, because I'm 57 years old and I heard it’s a country where the elderly gets treated in a good way. Ever since childhood I’ve heard about Sweden as the only country without war and injustice.

I expected to live my life here, to get health care. But none of those things have happened. I thought I could forget the suffering in my country, but I experienced only more suffering.

I don’t even know how to describe what's inside me. I just want to work, have friends and live what's left of my life in peace, without sorrow. I want to see my children and grandchildren again, and I want the country that provided me protection to be proud of me.

I came here in December 2015 and still live in an asylum accommodation in Storå, while I'm waiting for a residence permit. In the beginning, I was just so happy to be there in a protected country. But after a while I became depressed, I feel like I'm in prison. I don’t know where I want to live, but it must be in a city where I can meet more people so I will not die alone.

I thought I could forget the suffering in my country, but I got only more suffering.

There is no care here, especially for those in my age. It’s like people think we came here to just eat and sleep while we’re waiting. If I could I would return to Syria, but I'm afraid to be killed or tortured.

Every day here feels like a year. But I can’t do anything, because I fled my homeland.

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