Saving Syrian strays, one adoption at a time
MUĞLA – Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotosSyrian Rawaa Kilani saves stray animals injured during her country’s civil war through an adoption program that provides treatment and loving homes for these abandoned animals.
With her group “Peace 4 Paws,” Kilani has so far sent 150 cats and 12 dogs to other countries for adoption. She, along with her mother, has also raised money and support for her group through various trips to different countries around the world.
The war in Syria, which has claimed the lives of many civilians and made millions more homeless, has also made victims of stray animals left behind.
Housewife Kilan, who has dedicated her life to caring for these forgotten creatures, and her animal loving mother, Ghada Koudsi, work to protect the injured strays in their country.
Since Kilani and her husband worked as lawyers of an oil company in Damascus before the war, her financial situation is good and she is able to pay for the animals’ treatment. She then applies for pet passports for the animals so they can travel to various countries for adoption.
She has visited many countries with her mother such as Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium to ask for support from animal lovers there.
Kilani’s most recent trip was to Turkey. After first arriving in İzmir, Kilani said they met with Scottish Jeannie Thirkill, known as the mother of cats, in Muğla’s Marmaris. Kilani also organized the adoption of a cat named “Yunus” by a German.
As someone who grew up in an animal-lover family, she was very affected “when [she] saw stray animals who lost their legs, eyes in [her] country.” It was then that she began her crusade to save stray animals in her country.
“First, I adopted a cat that I found on the street and named Lucy. And the story began. Then when we saw many others like Lucy, we grew,” she said. The group’s rescued animals are in high demand in many European countries and the group works to ensure the animals can make it to their new homes on the other continent.
“We do all travel transactions in Syria. We start with the treatment of the wounded animals. European countries ask for blood tests, which take three months. Thanks to a Lebanese veterinarian, who helps us voluntarily, we are able to shorten this process. According to their [the animals’] blood test results, we issue their passports and send them to their new families. As group members, we travel European countries and ask for support for adoption of stray animals.”
Through the group’s website www.catconnect.nl., animal lovers from around the world can donate to the animals’ cause.