June 15, 2015 at 8:29 pm

Washington Post Features Alum in Syrian Asylum Seekers Article

Basileus Zeno addressed a War and Peace curricular theme crowd at Ohio University on the sources of ISIS.

Basileus Zeno addresses a War and Peace curricular theme crowd at Ohio University on the sources of ISIS.

Washington Post writer Sean Lyngaas featured Ohio University alum Basileus Zeno ’15M in a June 15 story on “Syrian asylum-seekers face long waits in backlogged U.S. system.

Zeno earned a Master of Arts in Political Science from the Ohio University College of Arts & Sciences in May, but his academic journey was disrupted by conflict in the Middle East.

Basileus Zeno simply wants an answer. The Syrian academic has been waiting nearly two years to be interviewed by the Department of Homeland Security about his application for asylum, but no word has come.

“They don’t give you any details,” he said, as if “your whole life should be pending.”

Zeno was pursuing his PhD in archaeology in Damascus in 2012 when fighting between President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and ­opposition groups intensified around the Syrian capital. He left to enroll in a master’s program at Ohio University, and as Syria continued to disintegrate, he ­decided that returning home was not an option.

Zeno’s articles critical of the Assad regime and Islamist groups seeking to topple it have brought death threats, he said, adding that militants have killed several members of his family.

The Syrian applicants have entered an American asylum system that legal experts say is under-resourced and overwhelmed by a humanitarian crisis in Central America.

Read the entire story in the Washington Post.

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