With millions of Syrians fleeing their home, some have found the - WDRB 41 Louisville News

With millions of Syrians fleeing their home, some have found their way to Kentuckiana

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - Millions of Syrians are fleeing their country, running from civil war and violence.

Some end up right here in Kentuckiana, often leaving behind family they may never see again.

"Half my cousins are spread out over Europe and the Middle East," said Ayah Kutmah.

Kutmah wants to remember the history and beauty of her parents' native country, not the violence and civil war tearing families apart.

"You don't have that connection anymore," she said. "And that you didn't have the ability to communicate with them sometimes ... the electricity goes off all the time, not knowing what happened to them."

Millions have fled Syria since 2011, searching for a better life.

Nour Alkunuss, 17, arrived in Louisville just a couple months ago.

She and her family immigrated to the U.S. after spending the past four years in Jordan.

The two women joined several other Syrian-Americans at Louisville's Iroquois Library on Saturday, celebrating their history and heritage through music, food, and fellowship.

John Koehlinger is executive director at Kentucky Refugee Ministries, a Louisville agency that's received 48 Syrian refugees so far this year.

"The Department of Homeland Security screens them very rigorously," Koehlinger said. "It's a long process taking a couple years from the time they initially register as refugees in the country of asylum to the time we pick them up in the airport."

Then, it's on to finding them jobs and a place to live.

They're more than 6,000 miles from Syria. But on Saturday, they all felt a little closer to home.

"It's times like these where you just remember the beauty of Syria and the history of it that's been torn apart by this war."

More than 1,500 Syrian refugees have been admitted into the U.S. this year.

President Obama said the country would accept at least 10,000 in the next fiscal year.

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