How One Syrian Family Found A Home In Texas

Sep 21, 2016

Bassam Al Abbas does not like to think about the civil war raging in his home country of Syria.

The conflict, which produced nearly 5 million refugees and internally displaced millions more, also drove him and his family from their homes in 2012. For years they navigated foreign languages and vetting systems before eventually settling in Austin, Texas, in May.

“I cannot describe how much they welcomed me,” Al Abbas told Here & Now. “They made us love this country.”

A cessation of hostilities in Syria that took effect Monday appears to be largely holding, though the U.N. says further assurances are required before humanitarian vehicles can deliver aid to those in need.

A Syrian cease-fire went into effect at sundown on Monday, at approximately 11:45 a.m. EDT.

Just hours before the start of the planned cease-fire, Syrian President Bashar Assad announced on state media that he plans to "reclaim every area from the terrorists," The Associated Press reports. Assad's government had earlier indicated it would abide by the negotiated truce.

At a news conference in Geneva late Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the beginnings of a peace plan for Syria, reports NPR's Alice Fordham.

Kerry was joined in the cease-fire announcement by Sergey Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister.

"The United States is going the extra mile here because we believe that Russia, and my colleague, have the capability to press the [Bashar] Assad regime to stop this conflict and come to the table and make peace," Kerry said.

The deal will be implemented at sundown on Monday, Lavrov said.

The headline of a recent NPR's story about Omran Daqneesh, a little Syrian boy who was rescued in Aleppo, asked: "Can One Photo End A War?"