1. ITV Report

Forced to flee their homeland: the Syrian refugees on life here in the East

  • Click below to watch a video report by ITV News Anglia's Hannah Pettifer

A Syrian refugee, forced to flee his homeland four years ago has been telling ITV News Anglia how happy he is with his life here in the East.

Four years ago the then Prime Minister David Cameron promised to take in 20,000 Syrian refugees who had been caught up in the country's civil war.

Thousands fled their war torn homeland. Credit: PA

One of those was Marwan Saloutta, with his wife and two young children, who has made Colchester his home.

Marwan used to be a magazine photographer and journalist in Damascus, but he's had no choice but to change careers to survive.

He's just opened his own restaurant in Essex, specialising in Syrian cuisine.

Credit: ITV News Anglia

"I left Syria because of war, now it's very dangerous... you can see a lot of people died and you can see bombs every area, I can't live this, I must with my family go to another area.

It was very hard, very emotional but when you have a choice, you have to skip anyway, so you're better to take your small family, it was a hard decision for us, you never know if you will see them again or not."

– Marwan Saloutta
Marwan says he's very happy with the new chapter in his life. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Marwan's restaurant has been given five star reviews since opening in December.

His wife won a year's scholarship to study law at the University of Essex, and is now into her second year.

He says he hopes to return to Syria with his family once it becomes safe, but until then wants to keep giving back to the community that has so readily accepted him.

I am very happy because I am safe now with my family, but everything is different, culture, people, but I am very happy in the UK.

– Marwan Saloutta