Syrian, Iraqi refugees coming to Spokane

Syrian, Iraqi refugees coming to Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. - With the situation in Syria continuing to spiral out of control, between the threat of ISIS and an ongoing civil war, a family originally from Iraq and took refuge in Damascus will arrive in Spokane night.

The State Department reports half of Syria's population has fled their homes because of the crisis, with thousands of people pouring over the Turkish border seeking refuge each day.

In addition to the Iraqi family arriving from Syria, World Relief Spokane says a Syrian family will be coming in the next couple months with many more to follow.

"These people are coming from an extremely traumatic situation that's no fault of their own. They've been extremely persecuted, they've had human rights taken away from them," Mark Kadel, director of World Relief Spokane, said.

Kadel can't give any details on the family from Iraq for their personal safety but said they fled the violence in Iraq and took refuge in Damascus and now they're seeking refuge again.

"Probably fled from Iraq anywhere from four to eight years ago, have been in Syria and have applied and been accepted into the refugee program in the United States," Kadel said.

World Relief is one of nine organizations contracted by the State Department to resettle refugees that are legally invited to be part of the country. The Spokane office takes anywhere from 500 to 600 refugees a year.

"Takes a while to process refugees, about two to six years to process, but we've already been assured that we'll receive a number of Syrians," Kadel said.

The State Department estimates that 1,800 people will come to the U.S. from Syria in 2015, with some of them moving to the Inland Northwest.

"In this office in Spokane, we'll see anywhere from six to ten different families in the first six months of 2015," Kadel said.

Once they're here World Relief helps them get established into society by helping them find jobs, housing and putting their children in school.