Syrian man wins hearts in Turkey by volunteer work

23-year-old joined search and rescue efforts in quake-hit Izmir province

Abdullah Soylemez   | 22.11.2020
Syrian man wins hearts in Turkey by volunteer work

AGRI, Turkey 

A Syrian man who migrated to Turkey with his family two years ago is winning hearts by helping people in need.

Alaa Eddin Darwish, 23, spent time in prison as a political detainee in Syria, a country embroiled in civil war since 2011.

When a powerful earthquake shook Turkey's Aegean province of Izmir last month, Darwish joined rescue workers as a volunteer and helped pull out people from the debris.

He says this was his way of paying back the people of Turkey for the love and care they had given him in his time of need.

“I live freely and humanely in Turkey. People are very good here," he said.

He also went to help people in Elazig, Turkey's eastern province, after an earthquake hit the region in January.

Darwish is studying journalism at university and wants to pursue it as a career.

"I have worked as a freelance journalist for international agencies to show the atrocities of the Bashar al-Assad regime to the world.”

He also wants to serve in the Turkish military after he becomes a citizen.

"Once I become a citizen, I will change my name to Umut, which mean 'hope' in Turkish," he said.

* Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara

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