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How Imad left Syria and started again in London

Imad Alarnab is a Syrian restaurateur who left Damascus as a refugee in July 2015. He travelled to the UK through Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Germany and France.

 He has been living in London for the last two years and has recently started a pop-up café called Imad’s Syrian Kitchen. 

Keeping in touch with friends and family at home is made possible by social media, but it’s not easy. 

'We miss them and we want them to be safe and happy, which is something we can’t help with,' he said.

 'Sometimes you feel desperate, like you want to do something but you can’t.'

His memories of Damascus conflict with the images he sees on television news broadcasts covering the conflict in his homeland but, he says, he can’t help watching, in case he can catch a glimpse of streets or houses that he recognises. 

'We all hope to go back one day,' he says. 'And hopefully it will be the Damascus we know from before the war.'

Imad visited IWM for the Conflict Café, held as part of IWM’s Syria: A Conflict Explored season.