Desperate to escape Syria’s terrors, Ammar Maarawi bolted. In early 2016, he paid smugglers and endured a dangerous sea crossing to Greece and an exhausting journey by train, bus and foot through Europe.
Two years later, the 36-year-old is back home in Aleppo. He returned last summer – depressed, homesick and dreading another winter, he couldn’t bear life in the German city of Suhl.
Germany, he said, “was boring, boring, boring.”
Maarawi is among a small number of refugees who have come back to Syria from among the more than 5.4 million who fled their homeland since the civil war erupted in 2011. So far, they are just a trickle, numbering in the tens of thousands. The United Nations and host governments in Europe are not encouraging returns, saying the country is not safe. Read more