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Syrians arrive in Canada after living in Australian asylum camp for 3 years

Syrian family reunites in Canada after father, son spent 3 years in Australian detention camp

‘I feel like everything that happened to us is like a miracle. It didn’t happen to us like we thought.’

By Bonnie Allen, CBC News Posted: Feb 22, 2016 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Feb 22, 2016 5:00 AM ET

Ali Kharsa is shown with his parents, Ahmed and Doha, in their Saskatoon home.

Ali Kharsa is shown with his parents, Ahmed and Doha, in their Saskatoon home. (Bonnie Allen/CBC News)

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A heartwrenching separation from family. A harrowing journey on the open sea. Three years of torment inside Australia’s controversial detention system for asylum-seekers.

Syrians Ali Kharsa, 18, and his father Ahmed, 47, have now settled in Saskatoon in a way they never could have anticipated.

“I’m one of the luckiest people to get here,” Ali Kharsa told CBC News, speaking from his new home in the Prairie city.

His mother, Doha, is still relishing the reunion with her eldest son and husband.

“I feel like everything that happened to us is like a miracle. It didn’t happen to us like we thought or like we planned,” she said.

Desperate gamble

In 2012, the Kharsas’ home in Aleppo, Syria was destroyed. Their car had been stolen. Several relatives had been killed or kidnapped.

On the advice of friends, the family of seven flew to Malaysia. But they soon discovered that the country was not a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention and didn’t recognize refugees or give work permits to asylum-seekers.

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