Overshadowed by ISIS and Targeted by Assad, Syrian Activists Soldier On

By George Goss and Nick Perez

Going Back

The Assad regime will not allow Khoury to return to Syria. He currently lives in Brooklyn with his family. Both of his daughters are American citizens.

Becoming an American Citizen

In order to become an American citizen, Khoury first needs to receive asylum and apply for a green card. After five years with a green card, he can then apply for citizenship.

Seeking Asylum in the U.S.

Khoury could not obtain a visa when he left Syria. He came to New York City as a tourist and hired a lawyer in the hopes of being granted asylum. The process has taken almost two years and his visa status is still uncertain.

Fleeding Syria

Issam Khoury was an early advocate of the anti-Assad protesters who took to the streets in March, 2011 demanding greater freedom. After he was brutally assaulted by Syrian police, he decided to leave the country with his family.

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Issam Khoury, a Christian from Syria, fled to the U.S. with his family in 2013 when the political situation in Syria deteriorated. Learn more about his story from the interactive photo above.


Five years after Syrian protesters took to the streets demanding democratic reform, the Syrian Club in Brooklyn organized a protest in Washington, D.C. to remember their sacrifices, and to keep fighting for an end to the Assad regime.Khoury and other members of the club said that many of their friends and family have been killed by the regime.


The United Nations estimated that, in total, 250,000 Syrians were killed.Khoury said that Assad will be defeated, but added that ISIS, which he calls Daesh, continued to steal the headlines and create a false narrative of a religious split in Syria between Christians and Muslims.


“Muslim or Christian, we are all Syrians,” Khoury said. “The division between us was stoked by Assad. He was the one who released the prisoners who ended up forming ISIS.”


The interactive map below includes the personal testimonies of Syrian Club members.