Australia has begun the task of selecting for resettlement 12,000 refugees from the crisis in Syria. The first group is expected to arrive before late December.

Sydney’s Lakemba district is one of Australia’s most multicultural areas. It has become a haven for a family from the Syrian city Homs, which fled to Lebanon before arriving as refugees in Australia at the start of the year.

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Youssef al-Kasseh lives with his wife, Hala, and their three children, along with his mother in a small rented house.

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Speaking through a translator, he said the horrors of what they left behind are always in their thoughts.

“Life in Homs is very, very bad and no matter how hard I try to explain, it is very hard,” said Youssef. “There is killing all the time, people getting taken away, while they have been taken away, they have been killed.”

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