A Laval man who has been fighting to bring his Syrian parents to Canada was devastated to learn his father had passed away early Friday morning.
Bassam Katbe and his siblings left Syria nearly two decades ago, but their parents stayed because they were settled there and, at the time, the situation was relatively stable.
However the intensifying conflict left them with little choice but to flee. His parents fled Hasakah, in northeast Syria, for Saudi Arabia with only two suitcases in 2013 after the situation in their home country deteriorated and their Canadian immigration application was denied.
They then moved to Lebanon, where they waited as their children tried to get them to safety in Canada by way of a private, church-sponsored refugee claim.
But Abrahim Katbe, 82, died in a Lebanon hospital while in for dialysis for his kidney. He suddenly collapsed before the procedure; his son believes it was a heart attack.
"If I tell you about a loving father, he's beyond that," Katbe said.
"It's just that I believe it's unjust what happened; dying a refugee with nobody around you, broken-hearted. He didn't deserve that."
Katbe says his mother is taking it particularly hard.
"My dad's presence gave her a reason to be and why I spoke to her yesterday, she was desperate. She's all alone now," he said.
Katbe said he is now concentrating all his efforts into getting his mother into Canada to finally meet her grandchildren.
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