Hassan al-Kontar – a Syrian who has been living on an Airport from 36 days

Hassan Al-Kontar, a 36-years old Syrian who was once a successful Arab expat of Dubai is now facing the hideous part of his life. Unfortunately, it has been a month since he is stuck at the Asia Airline transit terminal at Kuala Lumpur International airport in Malaysia.

Hassan Al-Kontar is unable to re-enter Malaysia because of Visa restriction and is also afraid to return to his war-torn country. He has been living there in transit terminal without enough money to buy an onward ticket.

Al-Kontar was successfully living and working as an insurance marketing manager in Abu Dhabi till 2011. In 2011, the circumstances changed and went totally out of his control, his passport expired at the same time when Syrian conflict started.

Young Syrian men were required to serve in the military and those who left the country were declared as disloyal. However, it was a normal routine to renew the passport from a foreign country, Al Kontar too applied for this but his application was denied with the outbreak of the war.

He decided to reside the UAE illegally in a fear that if he would return back to Syria to renew his document he will be imprisoned or drafted forcibly. His UAE residency permit was a subject to maintain a valid passport.

He constantly hid from police for five years and sometimes he also remained homeless and hungry for several days. He lost his job and worked under the-table-gigs at a very low pay. He tried his best to find a legal place to live but he was deported from the UAE in January 2018.

The authorities gave him a choice, either he should travel back to Syria or travel to Malaysia which is one of the very few countries that accepts Syrians without visas.

He decided to travel to Malaysia on a three-month visa after which he quickly found that it could be difficult for him to stay in the Southeast Asian country legally. Unable to get residency he remained their illegally until February.

After which he set up his mind to travel to South American country Ecuador which he thought the best option for his future as it allows Syrians to enter as recognized refugees and has a clear path to residency.

However, it was not less than a challenge and not a simple task as it seems. The Syrians are required to obtain a visa for traveling to different countries through airways. Hassan Al-Kontar decided to fly with Turkish Airline to reach Ecuador.

The ticket of this airline cost $2,300 but the sad part was that this airline refused to allow him to travel without giving any explanation. This was the most distressing part of his story, after spending most of his remaining savings on the ticket, he was unable to board the flight and unable to re-enter Malaysia.

Although he felt desperate after a long struggle and is still stuck in Kuala Lumpur airport without knowing the duration of his stay at the airport. He also talked to some officials from the United Nation and is posting occasional updates on Twitter in a hope of some assistance.

He is prominently appealing for help and is constantly saying that there is no one to advise him what to do next and he believed that the worst time is yet to come.

Phil Robertson, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said that Malaysia needs to demonstrate kindness and provide humanitarian aid and if he's found to be a refugee, it's urgent for Malaysia to permit him to seek third-country immigration without difficulty.

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