Armless Syrian Boy Thrives in US

Ahmad Alkhalaf and his father have been living in the United States among a rotating group of Muslim families since their arrival in June 2015 on a medical visa for Ahmad. The 11-year-old's arms were blow off in a refugee camp bomb blast that also killed three of his siblings in Syria. Dirgam Alkhalaf has applied for asylum and hopes to petition for the rest of the family if he and Ahmad are permitted to stay.

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In this Dec. 10, 2016, photo, Syrian refugee Ahmad Alkhalaf draws a heart while making a card for refugee children displaced in Syria during a day camp for local Muslim children in Sharon, Massachusetts. The young boy who lost his arms in a refugee camp bomb blast is thriving in his new life in Massachusetts.
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In this Dec. 10, 2016, photo, Syrian refugee Ahmad Alkhalaf plays soccer with friends during a day camp for local Muslim children in Sharon. At rear is camp counsellor Nabil Jalal.
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Ahmad Alkhalaf smiles while playing with friends during a day camp for local Muslim children. "Anything is possible in this world. You just have to believe in yourself," says Ahmad, whose arms were blown off above the elbows in a refugee camp bomb blast in 2014, which also killed three of his brothers.
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In this Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, photo Syrian refugee Ahmad Alkhalaf, 9, and his father Dirgam Alkhalaf stand outside Ahmad's school in Sharon. Ahmad who arrived in the Boston area for medical treatment, said he used to have restless nights when he would relive his mother’s screams from the night a bomb killed three of his siblings and left him without arms. But those sounds, he said, have largely faded.
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Ahmad Alkhalaf looks down as counselor Ibrahim Hassan ties his shoes before playing soccer at a day camp for local Muslim children in Sharon.
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In this Dec. 10, 2016, photo, Syrian refugee Ahmad Alkhalaf, left, dashes away from Rayyan Jalal while playing capture the flag with friends during a day camp for local Muslim children in Sharon.
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Syrian refugee Ahmad Alkhalaf pauses prior to making a card for refugee children displaced in Syria during a day camp for local Muslim children in Sharon.
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Ahmad Alkhalaf talks with counselors during a day camp for local Muslim children in Sharon.
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In this Dec. 10, 2016 photo, Syrian refugee Ahmad Alkhalaf kneels with friends after praying during a day camp for local Muslim children in Sharon.
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In this Dec. 10, 2016 photo, Syrian refugee Ahmad Alkhalaf sits after completing a card for refugee children displaced in Syria during a day camp for local Muslim children.
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In this Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, photo Syrian refugee Ahmad Alkhalaf, 9, sits on a prayer rug in a mosque in Sharon. His father Dirgam Alkhalaf has applied for asylum and hopes to petition for the rest of the family if he and Ahmad are permitted to stay.
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In this Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, photo Syrian refugee Ahmad Alkhalaf, 9, has his eye checked for an irritation by Na'eel Cajee at a mosque in Sharon.
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In this Dec. 10, 2016 photo, Syrian refugee Ahmad Alkhalaf heads out to play soccer with friends during a day camp for local Muslim children in Sharon. "Anything is possible in this world. You just have to believe in yourself," says Ahmad.
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