Having escaped from the brutal regime of the Islamic State (ISIS) in parts of Syria and Iraq does not mean the end of hardship for the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled to other countries in search of a much better life.
One of the families who have fled from their ISIS-occupied city in Syria told CBN News of their nightmarish escape and how the barbaric militants continue to haunt them even when they have reached a safer place in Kurdistan, Iraq.
The Christian Broadcasting Network is now helping Syrian Muslim couple Dahan and Aziza and their two children to begin a new life in the Kurdistan capital of Erbil.
Aziza said she and her two children were forced to run the night ISIS militants attacked their home in Kobana, Syria. Her husband Dahan had earlier left for Erbil to find work.
"We went as fast as we could and left everything behind to be destroyed by ISIS," she recalled. "I only thought about our survival and getting to my husband in Kurdistan."
Although the border was closed, Aziza and her children managed to reach Iraqi Kurdistan by paying a smuggler. Dahan was there to welcome his family.
"I was so happy to hold them in my arms, to see them safe," Dahan told CBN's Operation Blessing.
However, he said his happiness was tinged with sorrow after finding out that his brother was not as lucky as him. "My brother did not escape. ISIS captured him and cut him into pieces and sent me the pictures on my phone. Now I see that image in my head every day," Dahan said.
Although they thank God no end for having succeeded in fleeing ISIS alive, the Syrian couple said life for refugees like them is far from easy.
"The cost of living here is too high, and the company I work for has refused to pay five months of wages they owe me. No one is willing to help us. And I am especially worried for my wife because we found out she is pregnant," Dahan said.
"My husband has high blood pressure because of his struggles and I'm afraid he will have a heart attack," his wife said. "We can barely buy food, but the hardest part as a mother is not being able to get toys for the children. My son's only toy is broken and it is his dream to have a remote control car, but we can't afford it."
Aziza can't find a job because of the local stigma against Syrian women.
Fortunately for them, CBN was there to extend a helping hand. The Christian television network founded by televangelist Pat Robertson opened a women's accessories store for her. CBN staffers also took Aziza to the market and paid for everything she bought. They even found a storefront close to her home, and paid three months' rent in advance.
"This was an amazing thing for you to do for us. You have given us hope and brightened our lives," Aziza told the CBN staff.
CBN also gave medicine to Dahan for his high blood pressure and prenatal vitamins for Aziza. The Christian group also provided them food while they set up their store. Before the CBN staff left, they had one final gift to the Syrian family—toys for the children.
"I am so grateful to God with all my heart for having met you. Thank you for your desire to help us," Aziza said.
"We knew what history told us about Islam, that it came with a bloody sword and beheaded people, but we didn't believe it," said Dahan. "Now we have seen the reality of that, and we have seen Christianity. You came with support and love."