By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Syrians who call Minnesota home are having a difficult time watching the crisis from afar.

Osamah Aldoubal is married to a Minnesotan. His parents and extended family live in the southern part of Syria. He fears for their safety daily.

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Aldoubal may be in Minnesota with his wife and son, but he says he’s worried about his family abroad.

“All the time I am here, but my mind is there,” he said.

His parents, siblings and extended family in southern Syria live in constant fear, and he says not being able to help keeps him up at night.

“My big fear is when I will hear something happened to them,” Aldoubal said. “If they stayed alive, made it through the night or not.”

He sees the images of hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the country — some to nearby countries. Some don’t make it. He calls that – heartbreaking.

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Despite the danger, Aldoubal’s family doesn’t want to leave home for a refugee camp.

“When I speak with my dad, he said ‘I prefer to die with people here, and I’m not going to a refugee camp,'” he said.

The Aldoubal family wants our community to know this crisis isn’t just happening across the world.

“We have all around us a global community, and our neighbors are people from Syria and have family that are being directly affected by this war,” Aldoubal’s wife Michelle said.

They would like for his family to come to the United States, along with others, but only people who Aldoubal says want to make a positive contribution to our country.

“Make sure you are bringing people who need help,” he said. “People that don’t be involved with crimes, and people who are looking to be involved with this community.”

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So far, Aldoubal says he’s lost four cousins and 17 friends to the war in Syria. He said he’s most concerned for his sister, who just had her first child a few days ago.

Jennifer Mayerle