The enduring conflict in Syria has made Mohammad Karkoush's life unrecogniseable to himself; he has lost his son, his home and his livelihood. RNZ's Cosmo Kentish-Barnes recorded his story in France.
Tens of thousands of civilians have fled Syria in search of safety and security in northern Europe. Mohammad Karkoush is one of them.
He says his son was killed by a terrorist group and his pottery factory in Aleppo was erased by a bomb.
The arduous journey across several countries required cash, courage and hope as there was no guarantee where he would end up or if he would even make it.
Mohammad believed it was worth the gamble so he left behind his wife and children hoping that if he was granted asylum somewhere, they would be able to join him.
"Before the war, we were living, we were happy. It's true, no one was allowed to be involved in politics, but we didn't have any business in it. The war came and destroyed everything, it didn't leave anything." he said
After making it to Germany, Mohammad was processed and granted asylum in France. A few months later his family joined him from Syria.
Mohammad is now using the studio of a ceramic artist to make traditional Syrian pottery to sell in local markets, but it's his dream to return to Syria one day if peace returns.