Lancaster – For one Ohio University Lancaster student, the civil war in Syria isn't just something he's reading about in the newspaper or seeing on television; 19-year-old Khalid Abdulsalam is living it. Abdulsalam's grandmother has fled her home in Syria and is in Lebanon, trying to find a way to get to the United States.
"I have fear for my family," said Abdulsalam. "My family just wants the war to stop."
Reports indicate several hundred, if not thousands, were killed in a chemical weapons attack in Syria on August 21.
Abdulsalam lives in Sugar Grove. He graduated from Berne Union High School and is a Mechanical Engineering major at OUL. He was born in the United States. His parents came to the U.S. from Syria.
"We used to travel there all the time to visit family," said Abdulsalam. "But because of the war, we haven't been to visit family there in several years."
Abdulsalam said since all the airports in Syria are closed, his maternal grandmother is waiting in Lebanon for an appointment with the American Embassy .She's hoping they will grant her a visa and let her travel to Ohio.
"There's a big chance that she won't get it," said Abdulsalam. "My understanding is that they are not granting very many visas. But I'm hoping she will be able to come here."
Abdulsalam's grandfather passed away in Syria from complications due to diabetes. He said doctors are in short supply due to the war, and his grandfather could not get the care he needed.
"Family is a big thing in Syria; I love my family," said Abdulsalam. "I haven't seen my grandma in at least five years. I'm so sad for her and the people there. I just want this to end peacefully."