WASHINGTON — The 9-year-old Syrian refugee who will be attending the State of the Union tonight as Representative Seth Moulton’s guest says he hopes his mother and siblings, who are living in Turkey, will join him soon in the United States.
“That’s all I think about,” Ahmad Alkhalaf said, speaking through an interpreter in Moulton’s office Tuesday afternoon. “I miss my mother so much. I miss my siblings so much.”
Ahmad lost both his arms and three of his siblings when the Syrian government bombed the camp where he lived with his family. Ahmad now lives with his father in Sharon while receiving treatment at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Ahmad sat between Moulton and his father, Dirgam Alkhalaf, as he told reporters about his family.
Moulton, a Salem Democrat, said he learned about Ahmad because he is being treated in Massachusetts.
“Ahmad helps put a human face to the refugee crisis,” Moulton said. “They are real people who deserve a chance at peace and freedom.”
Moulton voted against a high-profile bill in November in the wake of the Paris attacks that would have made it more difficult for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to enter the US. The bill passed the House with a veto-proof majority, but still faces a vote in the Senate, where Democrats have said they will block it.
Nadia Alawa, who translated for Ahmad and his father, is the president of NuDay Syria, a New Hampshire-based organization that assists Syrian families. She said although the Syrian government bombed the camp where Ahmad was living, he was in the camp in the first place because the Islamic State group forced his family to leave their home. Ahmad originally lived in the countryside of Aleppo, where his father farmed and built houses.
Moulton said he hopes the president addresses the Syrian refugee crisis during the State of the Union.
“I hope that the president talks about refugees and about the leadership that the United States should continue providing in the world,” he said. “And I also hope that he’ll talk about a comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS, which is something that I’ve been talking about for months now.”
Ahmad said he hopes to stay in the US.
“My dream is to stay here and study and become a doctor and be part of this country,” he said. “My own country is broken right now.”Sophia Bollag can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @SophiaBollag.