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Syrian refugees making new home in Connecticut

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NEW HAVEN -- As Syrian refugees seek asylum overseas, some are finding a new home in Connecticut.

According to Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services in New Haven (IRIS), four Syrian refugee families have been brought to Connecticut so far this year, with another expected next week. An estimated 550 refugees from around the world arrive in Connecticut every year. Roughly 230 of those settle in New Haven.

A Syrian refugee named Mahmoud spoke to FoxCT through a translator about his experience fleeing from Syria with his family in 2012 before eventually being relocated to West Haven in July.

"When he was there, [there was] too much slaughtering and killing and torturing, so it was a better choice to escape, but it was hard," said Mahmoud's translator. Mahmoud's brother remains in a refugee camp in Jordan.

"For his brother, it's a very miserable life in the camp," said Mahmoud's translator. "He [Mahmoud] told me earlier that they don't have any electricity, no lights, and the water is polluted."

Suleiman Chater, who owns Mamoun's Falefel Restaurant in New Haven, said his brother-in-law fled from Damascus nearly two weeks ago. He believes his brother-in-law, along with his wife and their three children, are currently in Hungary.

"He's been to Lebanon, Turkey, Cyprus and Hungary," said Chater. "And he hasn't been heard of for the past two days."

Chater said his brother-in-law is trying to seek safety in Germany. He and his wife are constantly worried about his well-being. "It's extremely difficult because it's worrying 24/7," said Chater.

Senator Chris Murphy is trying to bring more Syrian refugees into the United States. Monday, Murphy called on Congress to allow 50,000 Syrian refugees into the United States, an increase from President Obama's proposal of 10,000 refugees last week.

Senator Murphy also proposed reallocating funds for refugee resettlement from a training program in Syria that he says is not working.

"My worry is that if the United States doesn't bring these refugees here from the Middle East right now when the danger is the highest, I think it says something very dark about the United States," said Murphy. "But I also think it endangers us in the region because we start to lose credibility."

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