POMONA (CBSLA.com) —  Bombings, rocket fire, terrorism have all helped drive thousands of Syrians to escape their homeland for what they hope is a better life elsewhere.

“Life in Syria is horrible,” says Fouad Wawieh.

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He and his family escaped the violence-riddled town of Dumas —  targeted by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and his supporters.

“Him and his gangsters. he destroyed Syria. And there is nothing left,” Wawieh told CBS2’s Greg Mills Sunday.

His family ultimately made it out with the help of a group with the United Nations and the Islamic Center of Claremont (ICC.)

“I had to escape for my children,” Wawieh says, “and their future.”

Wawieh and his wife have six children.

The group snuck out of Syria at 4 a.m. on an April morning headed to Lebanon. The oldest son, Omar, had to escape on his own. Teenage boys who do not support the revolution are also targeted, Wawieh said.

“I would have been captured. I would’ve been tortured. I would’ve been beat,” Omar said.

Wawieh didn’t want his wife or teenage daughters shown on TV.

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The family of eight is crammed into a motel room in Pomona. They’re hoping someone can help out with a bigger place to live.

The kids are in schools, the older girls go to Claremont High. The younger kids attend Mountain View Elementary. At that school, Ms. Duncan has been helping out with school supplies.

Omar and his parents are talking adult English classes, as well.

Back in Syria, Wawieh was a rancher along with his brothers.

“I had to leave the businesses my family took 40 years to build,” he said. “if I could do my job as a rancher, no problem. but I”m willing to learn another trade.”

In America, they look forward to the future. They aren’t looking back and can’t imagine ever going back to Syria, unless, of course, the Assad regime is forced out.

“He is the cause of our misery. him and his gangsters,” Wawieh said.

[Editor’s Note: If you’d like to help the Wawieh family, go to any Chase bank, ICC/refugee fund, #893951582, Routing 322271627]

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