Local Syrian Refugees ‘Terrified For Their Families’ Stuck At Home, Camps

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The recent images of death and horror coming out of Syria are hitting close to home for one organization in our area.

They’re working to resettle Syrian refugees here and they say the United States should be doing more to help Syrians escape their situation at home.

“Just remembering the look of exhaustion on their faces,” said Cathryn Miller-Wilson.

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Miller-Wilson will never forget meeting a Syrian family of eight last September as she helped them resettle into the Philadelphia area.

As the executive director of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society Pennsylvania, she’s welcomed as many as 80 to 90 Syrian families in the past year.

“We went on a day in September where we received 20 refugees in one day,” she said.

The searing images coming out of Tuesday’s apparent chemical weapons attack that claimed the lives of at least 72 Syrian civilians, including as many as 20 children, has left her sleepless.

“To think about the children dying the way these images portray, and to think there’s no relief for them is enough to not allow you to sleep,” Miller-Wilson said.

In the past year, the nonprofit agency has helped to resettle about 200 refugees. Those who have found solace here are shaken by the Syrian atrocities.

Many Syrian refugees left not knowing how loved ones left behind have been affected.

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“We’ve already resettled a number of Syrians and we see the vulnerability, the sadness, and the trauma that they’ve suffered,” Miller-Wilson said. “Now our clients are terrified for their families who are stuck at home or stuck in refugee camps.”

HIAS Pennsylvania representatives believe the U.S. should do more to welcome Syrian refugees in the wake of this latest deadly attack.

“I know that we have the resources and capability to give safety,” Miller-Wilson said.

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