The country has given a warm welcome to thousands fleeing Assad’s regime – but can they weather its bitter winters?
When Ziad Ammar arrived in Canada, he had been out of jail for only three months. Tortured and starved in one of the prisons of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, he was weak and malnourished. It was not the best state in which to face a Canadian winter. “I bought everything that I needed for a whole month and then never left the house,” he said, laughing.
Ammar, whose name has been changed to protect family members still in Syria, arrived in Montreal in the autumn of 2014. A native of Latakia, a coastal city on the glittering Mediterranean, he had never faced harsh winters, certainly nothing close to the blanket of snow that often adorns his new home city.
I’d freeze waiting for the bus. People would gather around me and ask, ‘Are you OK, ma’am?’ because I was crying so much