NEW DELHI: The man behind Humans Of New York, Brandon Stanton, is profiling Syrian families in Jordan and Turkey who have been cleared for resettlement in America. The stories, in typical HONY-fashion, are poignant and touching, and reveal the human face of the conflict in the Middle East. One such profile even prompted a comment from US President Barack Obama, saying “you and your family are an inspiration.”

“I’ve just returned from a trip to Jordan and Turkey, where I had the unique opportunity to interview twelve Syrian families that have been cleared for resettlement in America. These families have just reached the finish line of a multi-year screening process, and it was quite an emotional experience to meet with them at this juncture. The life of a refugee in America is by no means easy. But for these families, their resettlement has finally brought the possibility of an end to years of intense hardship. I’m very much looking forward to sharing their stories with you over the coming days.” Stanton posted.

Here’s a look at some of the stories:

“My parents were supportive of my education, but they didn’t direct me. My father was a farmer and my mother was a housewife. They did not know much about science. But I was determined to become a scientist through my own personal will. I graduated high school with the third highest scores in all of Syria. I worked construction in the evenings to pay for my school. Even as a teenager, I was being given construction sites to manage. I graduated from university at the top of my class. I was given a scholarship to pursue my PhD. I suffered for my dream. I gave everything. If I had 100 liras, I would spend it on a book. My ultimate goal was to become a great scientist and make a lasting contribution to humanity… Our marriage wasn’t arranged. We married out of love. We met when we were students at university. She was studying law. We built a family together. We were a very modern family. We had good days and bad days and rich days and poor days but we were always together. We ate every meal together and educated our children well. My daughter was studying to be a doctor. My son was the smartest in his school. We were well known in the community. Nobody had a problem with us. We had no affiliation with any party or regime. Everyone loved us, honestly…. I built this compound for my family. I saved the money for it, I designed it myself, and I oversaw the construction. The first missile tore through the yellow house and exploded inside the pink house. It was a government anti-personnel missile. They are not supposed to be used in residential areas. Inside were 116 small bombs, and each bomb was filled with needles and shrapnel. The pink house belonged to my brother and his entire family was torn to pieces. The second missile landed in the green house but did not explode. That was my house. If the missile had exploded, I wouldn’t have any children left. But it only destroyed the top floor where my wife and daughter were. Sixteen people died in the attack. Seven were from my family…”

“ I was overseeing a project outside the city when the missile hit my house. Nobody was around to help, so my son had to carry the pieces of his mother and sister out of the house. He was fourteen at the time. He was so smart. He was the top of his class. He's not the same. Right after it happened, he’d write ‘mom’ in his notebook over and over. He’d cry all night long. Two years have passed but he’s still suffering very much. It’s very hard for him to focus. He gets tired very easily. My daughter was in the house too. She still has shrapnel in her neck. We survived but we’re dead psychologically. Everything ended for us that day. That was our destiny. That was our share in life…. Everything that wasn’t destroyed in our house was stolen over the next two days. We left with nothing. I can’t even pay the rent of this apartment. I’ve been in Turkey for two years now. I’m dead here. I have no life, no respect, and my children aren’t going to school. I have a PhD but I’m not allowed to work without a residence permit. There is a university here that is teaching with a book I wrote, but still won’t give me a job. In order to survive, I’m forced to create designs and give them away to Turkish citizens, who take all the credit and pay me barely enough money to cover the costs of my materials. This year I created blueprints for a giant construction project of 270 big houses. I was paid maybe one percent of what a Turkish citizen would have earned. There is no respect for my work here. Only money is respected… I had no problems before the bombing. I think the cancer came from my sadness and my stress. It’s in my stomach. It’s getting more and more painful. The only reason I can speak to you right now is because I’ve taken a painkiller. I can barely eat. I’m bleeding internally. I’ve gone to five hospitals here. They tell me there’s nothing they can do, especially because I have no insurance and no benefits. My friend in America tells me that it’s an easy surgery, but I’m fighting against time. It’s spreading, and I think that soon it will move beyond my stomach. And then there’s nothing I can do… I still think I have a chance to make a difference in the world. I have several inventions that I’m hoping to patent once I get to America. One of my inventions is being used right now on the Istanbul metro to generate electricity from the movement of the train. I have sketches for a plane that can fly for 48 hours without fuel. I’ve been thinking about a device that can predict earthquakes weeks before they happen. I just want a place to do my research. I learned today that I’m going to Troy, Michigan. I know nothing about it. I just hope that it’s safe and that it’s a place where they respect science. I just want to get back to work. I want to be a person again. I don’t want the world to think I’m over. I’m still here.”

(Istanbul, Turkey)

The story even got a response from US President Barack Obama…

“I was studying Literature and French Philosophy when the war came. I wanted to be an Arabic teacher. I didn’t want to be a soldier. I didn’t want to kill anyone. I had no interest in religion or politics. But all the young men were being forced to join the army, so when it came time to renew my papers, I ran. I only packed a small suitcase. I was planning to stay in Jordan for maybe a month until things calmed down. But when a month passed and the war hadn’t ended, I thought: ‘Maybe two months.’ Then: ‘Maybe three months.’ But after three months my mother told me that our house had been destroyed. She sent me a picture on the phone. Everything was rubble. There was nothing to go back to. But I had nothing in Jordan. I’d run out of money. I didn’t know anyone. I was homeless. I felt so alone that I wanted to kill myself. Then one day I tried to call a friend's phone but a strange voice answered.”

“We met because of a wrong number. But we ended up speaking for a few minutes, and at the end of our conversation, he asked if he could call again. Soon he was calling me every day. It never felt romantic. I never felt that he had bad intentions. It just felt like he needed someone to talk to. He would tell me every little detail about his day. We’d talk for hours. Those phone calls were the highlight of my days. I was a refugee too. I was also lonely. So I’d sit in my room and wait for the phone to ring. Eventually we met in person. But I’m seven years older than him. I never once expected him to mention marriage. But then one day he asked if he could come speak to my family.”

“Ever since we had our first child, I stopped watching the TV. Everyday I used to watch the news and obsess over what was happening back in Syria. But once we had children, I had to realize that I couldn’t change anything, and the worrying wasn’t helping my family. We learned recently that we will be moving to a state called Michigan. I’m a pessimist, so I’m not going to believe it until we are on the plane. But my nephew is there and he says it’s like heaven. He says it’s very green and has nice nature. When we get to Michigan, I’m not going to turn on the television again. I’m done with religion and politics forever. I only want to worry about milk and diapers.”

(Amman, Jordan)

“I had to leave the home that I’d spent thirty years building. One day I just had to close the doors, turn the key, and leave everything behind. I'm seventy-two. No one wants to leave home at my age. But I left because I have six sons, and I knew one day the soldiers would come for them. My sons weren’t political. They wanted nothing to do with killing, but that didn’t matter. Good people and bad people were all being treated the same way. I watched soldiers take away the neighbors’ boys with my own eyes. They were good boys. I’d known them their whole lives. But they were led away like sheep. They didn’t even speak up because if they opened their mouths they’d be shot. I knew it was only a matter of time before they came to our house. We left everything behind, but now my family is safe. So I am happy…I was an only child, but I had eleven children. I built a whole family. Every Friday I’d cook for them at my house. I’d spend the whole day in my kitchen, and all the grandchildren would come over, and the house would be filled with noise. The word ‘family’ is a painful word for me now. The war scattered my children all over the world. They are in Syria, Lebanon, Germany, and Jordan. I love all my children, but this one here is my soul. He’s always taken care of me. He’s even raised his children to take care of me. His daughters are always asking if I need anything-- just like their father. Tomorrow he’s leaving for a place called Memphis, Tennessee. I don’t know what I will do without him. I hope they will let me come to Memphis too. Can you tell us anything about Memphis? Are there nice people there? I heard that it is a city of music. I love music.”

(Amman, Jordan)

“He cried a lot as a baby. By the age of two he wasn’t speaking or eating. Our local doctor didn’t know what was wrong, but we found a good doctor in Damascus, and he told us that our son had autism. The doctor recommended a therapist. On the first day of therapy, he was too scared to even enter the office. But after a few months of treatment, he was able to concentrate and even write the alphabet. He went to therapy every week for the next few years. It was really helping him. He was learning so many things. But when the war came, the roads were closed. We couldn’t go to therapy anymore. The bombs affected him very badly. He gets scared easily. He’s even afraid of the dark. But the bombs scared him very much. He hasn’t been to therapy for years. We have no money or insurance here in Turkey. We are very isolated. It seems that all the progress has been undone. He used to want to learn. He used to get his books out of the bag and bring them to us. But now he just throws them away. He can’t sit still. I’m afraid that we’ve lost too much time now. But my husband is optimistic. He thinks that we will find the right doctor in America.”

(Istanbul, Turkey)

"I want to be a professor that examines the bones of dinosaurs because I like dinosaurs a lot. I also want to have a dinosaur but I know that’s impossible. I love to go to Google and type: ‘Nice dinosaur movies.’ But that uses a lot of the phone so I don’t get to do that too much. One day I’m going to open a museum full of dinosaur bones. I’m not sure where I’ll find the bones. Probably America and France. Look at this invention we made. We’ve made a lot of inventions. You can make really good things out of stuff you don’t need. We made an alien out of a speaker that we found in the trash, and then we made a person out of milk cartons, and we turned our trash can into a dinosaur because I love dinosaurs… “When I was in second grade, our school got attacked by a bomb. It was a barrel full of explosions. We were just opening our books to start the class and it’s hard to describe the sound but it was like a building coming apart. I ran to the other class to find my brother and he was crying because of the sound. Our bus left so we didn’t know what to do. But my brother is so smart. He ran to the market and called our grandma.”