Syrians find refuge at edge of Arctic Circle

The weather in Iceland may be freezing, but the welcome has warmed the hearts of these Syrian refugees, writes Natasha Bowler.

"Imagine it. You go outside at 11 in the morning and it's still dark. Still night-time. And by 3pm, it's dark all over again. That's what it's like here," says Mousa al-Saadi.

Saadi, a calm man in his mid-thirties, came to Iceland in October 2016, when he, his wife and their six children were granted asylum as refugees.

The family now live in an apartment in greater Reykjavik.

In Iceland's winter, temperatures can reach as low as -25 degrees Celsius, with just three hours of sunlight. At the peak of summer, meanwhile, it never gets dark.

"We thought we'd be safe in Lebanon. We left the war in Syria to be safe - but that was far from the reality," he tells The New Arab. "We were harassed by Hizballah gangs there, and I was eventually beaten up and put in hospital, so UNHCR moved us to Iceland."

Although exact figures are thought to be much higher, at least one million Syrian refugees have fled to neighbouring Lebanon - a country with a previous total population below four million.

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