"important today": Bassam fled Syria at the age of 15: "That made me grow up"

Civil war has been raging in Syria since 2011.

"important today": Bassam fled Syria at the age of 15: "That made me grow up"

Civil war has been raging in Syria since 2011. The Assad regime and anti-government militias have been committing serious war crimes for years and cutting off all supplies for their own population. Within four years, 230,000 people die, are either tortured, imprisoned or arbitrarily kidnapped. Millions of people are therefore forced to flee and leave their homes.

In 2015 around 890,000 asylum seekers came to Germany – most of them from Syria. Many take the perilous route across the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe. Not knowing if they and their families would survive the journey. Bassam Alsalem is one of them in 2015. In the 329th episode of the "Today Important" podcast, he reports on his experiences and his new life in Germany.

When Bassam Alsalem embarks on his journey to Europe, he is just 15 years old. The teenager has one goal: "It was clear to me that I wanted to go to Hamburg," because HSV – his favorite football club – plays in Hamburg. Before the war everything was simpler. He comes from a "small mini village" in Syria. He had a beautiful life, with lots of fun and a home "filled with peace".

Things looked different two to three years after the war started – the feeling of security was gone and Bassam Alsalem could no longer enjoy his life. So the then 15-year-old decides to flee for a better life and a secure future. He is able to convince his parents, but then comes the hardest part: saying goodbye. And despite all the experiences he made while fleeing, he says clearly: "This farewell is the only really intense experience in my life."

Sure, opinionated, on the 12: "important today" is not just a news podcast. We set topics and initiate debates - with attitude and sometimes uncomfortable. Host Michel Abdollahi and his team of stern and RTL reporters speak to the most exciting people from politics, society and entertainment. They let all voices have their say, both the quiet and the loud. Anyone who hears "important today" starts the day well-informed and can have a well-founded say.

Although it's hard for him, he comes to Germany. Bassam Alsalem is not only concerned with escaping the war. He wants a future, a career, a life. And he works hard for it, because he is certain: "If you don't try and do nothing, then this happiness doesn't come by itself." Today he can speak fluent German and will start his apprenticeship today - he has a future. Unlike many people from his first homeland: "Unfortunately, there isn't a completely normal life in Syria that a normal person deserves." There is still war there. Hardly anyone reports about it anymore, criticizes Bassam: "The world isn't interested at all."

Don't miss an episode of "Today's Important" by subscribing to our podcast on: Audio Now, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Castbox or your favorite podcast app. If you have any questions or suggestions, please write to us at heuteimportant@stern.de.

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