‘Canada saved 7 people’s lives:’ Saskatoon home to Syrian refugees

Watch above: A Saskatoon man has reached out to Syrian relatives he hasn’t seen for a very long time and has opened his home to them. Leena Latafat introduces us to some of Saskatoon’s newest residents.

SASKATOON – Carlo Arslanian says he’s not a hero but the family living in his Saskatoon home thinks otherwise. Late last week, he welcomed his cousin, her husband and their five kids to the city.

They’re all Syrian refugees.

“I just stood there with open arms, waiting for them. I said, ‘Hurry up!’ It was fantastic,” he said.

The family fled Syria in 2014 after their home was destroyed by a bomb. Since then, they had been living in a refugee camp in Lebanon.

Arslanian says he knew he had to step up and help sponsor the family when he heard about their living conditions.

“I could hear bombs going off in the background. I said to my cousin, ‘What is that? Is that thunder?’ She said, ‘No, they’re bombs’,” said Arslanian, recounting a Skype conversation.

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He has only met his cousin once – when she was six and he was 13. But Arslanian says helping them was something he had to do. He added that he is excited to get to know the people now living with him.

The Kasargins are grateful for all the support in Saskatoon. People from all over the city have been donating to a GoFundMe account set up by Arslanian, as well as dropping off food so the family doesn’t have to cook.

When asked about his new life, Minas Kasargin, one of the family members said, “It’s very beautiful. It’s very good. It’s very fantastic.”

“I saved…I didn’t save, that’s a lie. We saved. Canada saved seven people’s lives from tyranny, from exposure, from exploitation into a country that cares,” said Arslanian.