ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Mostafa Hassoun thought he would never be able to begin living.
Forced to leave his village outside the Syrian city of Latakia at 18 years old, the young man’s life was put on hold at the time when most Americans’ start.
As a refugee in neighboring Turkey, Hassoun lacked the ability to work legally, pursue an education or obtain citizenship.
“You’re waiting — waiting for what?” Hassoun, now 24, asked. “Where is my future? When can I start? I cannot.”
It was this stagnation that prompted Hassoun to apply for refugee status in 2014, a process he said took 15 months. U.N. and U.S. officials asked the Syrian questions about his beliefs, his past, his family and friends — “everything, every, every, every thing, about my life,” Hassoun said.