In Syria, I was just a regular guy who was living with his family in Homs, going to university, just about to finish his studies. I graduated in 2011.

Once the fighting started, our lives began to change day by day. Living there was very dangerous, especially for young men. You didn’t know whether maybe the next day you would not be alive, because of the snipers.

When I started losing some of my friends, the situation had become very serious. My neighborhood was close to the front line. I was working with the refugee relief effort and this was dangerous, because the regime might accuse you of helping the rebels.

I heard about a project for the UN, and I thought, “OK, I have to help.” My father said: “That’s enough; this is your ticket; you are leaving in ten days.” He bought me a ticket to Egypt.

I went to Lebanon by car and flew to Cairo. I stayed in Egypt for 13 months.

Eventually, things were getting more difficult, economically and politically. So I decided I had to do something. It was easy to find a smuggler.

It was a wooden fishing boat. I was with five friends. There were 400 people on our boat and another 150 towed behind.

I had just a small bag and my mobile phone—and that’s it. I had some cheese, some bread, some dates, nuts; things that you can put into your bag for a long time. The trip took ten days.  

We were stressed, but we had to deal with it. So we slept. You play games; you talk to people. We were picked up off Italy.

After three days, we started our journey again: from Italy to France, and from France to asylum in Germany.

The Stories