New country, new family for Metro Vancouver Syrian couple

March 3, 2016

By Tara Carman Vancouver Sun |

For the Ktifan family, 2016 has been a year of new beginnings. A new country, a new home and, now, two tiny new people in their lives.

Amjad and Wadaa Ktifan, Syrian refugees who arrived in Vancouver Jan. 7, welcomed twins — a boy and a girl — at Surrey Memorial Hospital Monday morning.

The twins, Rinad and Mohammad, weighed about five and a half pounds each at birth and were delivered two weeks before their due date by C-section.

Father Amjad said through a translator he is grateful for the care they received. The babies are healthy and were to be discharged Wednesday afternoon. There has been at least one other baby born to a Syrian refugee family in Metro Vancouver, said Chris Friesen, settlement services director with the Immigrant Services Society of B.C. That baby was born in January.

The family will return home to a two-bedroom basement suite in Delta, but with two new family members, they will have to look for a larger place, Amjad said. The couple has three other children: an 11-year-old boy and two girls, aged 10 and 9.

They would like to move to Surrey’s Guildford neighbourhood, where many of the newly arrived Syrians are settling, he added.

The family fled the Syrian city of Daraa in early 2012, when violence in the area escalated to the point of daily bombings and constant gunfire in the streets.

He fled to Jordan, where he found the family a place to live worked as a long-haul truck driver. Wadaa and the children followed eight months later.

Trucking grew less reliable as a source of income as the countries surrounding Syria tightened border restrictions, he explained, and the family facing financial hardship, they jumped at the chance to come to Canada.

Amjad described their experience thus far as “outstanding.”

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