UC students from Iraq closely monitoring conflict

University of Cincinnati student Jihad Rustiee is from Kurdistan. Ben Katko/FOX19
University of Cincinnati student Jihad Rustiee is from Kurdistan. Ben Katko/FOX19

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, OH (FOX19) - The crisis in Iraq is hitting home hard in the Tristate.

Being thousands of miles away from home isn't easy on anyone. Add to that concern and worry for friends and family as rebels close in on parts in and around your home country. That's what a small community of students at the University of Cincinnati is facing as the fight grows larger.

FOX19 talked with some students at UC who are coping with the fighting in their homeland.

Jalal Alanssari is studying at UC, far away from Baghdad, Iraq that he calls home. He said he's worried about the Iraqi people and the future of his country.

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"I think it was very terrible to see three cities falling down at the hand of terrorists," he said.

Alanssari is communicating with family thousands of miles away as much as he can. For now, they're all safe.

"They are very brave," he said. "They are very brave and they are very strong."

North of Baghdad sits the land of Kurdistan. That's land still officially part of Iraq and working for independence. That's the place other students call home.

"Right now, directly and indirectly, people became victim of this war, even those who are far from this war, like Kurdistan people," doctoral student Hemin Aziz said.

Another UC student -- Jihad Rustiee -- is also from Kurdistan. His family half a world away is feeling the harsh reality of the gunfire.

"My state is safer than other parts of Iraq like middle of Iraq, and south.  But, as you know, war always brings crisis, like economic crisis especially, and my people are struggling," he said.

Food and gas prices are steadily rising. Paychecks for his family aren't arriving on time. This conflict knows no borders.

"It's a dangerous situation in Iraq and in Kurdistan," Rustiee said.

At some point, all three of those students studying at UC do plan on returning to their homeland.

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