Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

Stateless Syrian on way after six-month Malaysian airport stay

Hassan Al Kontar from Dama was stuck in Kuala Lumpur airport after being ordered to return home from UAE

Hassan Al Kontar from a photo posted on his Twitter account.
Hassan Al Kontar from a photo posted on his Twitter account.

A Syrian man, who lived in a Malaysian airport for over eight months and was detained by authorities, has revealed he is on his way.

Hassan Al Kontar, from Dama, Syria worked in the UAE for 11 years before becoming almost stateless when the war in Syria broke out and he was told to return to Syria to complete military service.

Mr Al Kontar refused, and therefore returning to his home nation became impossible. Thus began 10 months of wrangling with different nations to secure visas – all of which failed. When rejected from a Turkish Airlines flight at the Kuala Lumpur airport, Al Kontar had no option but to remain at the airport since March.


Read more:

Syrian refugee arrested after living in Malaysian airport for months


Over a six-month period, Mr Al Kontar, 37, documented his odd experience on social media, gaining over 18,000 Twitter followers, before he was taken into custody in Malaysia. It was feared he would be returned to Syria after indications from the Malaysian immigration chief Mustafar Ali.

However, in a video filmed in Taiwan airport and posted on Monday, Mr Al Kontar said his final destination would be Vancouver, Canada.

He thanked those who had followed his journey online, his family and friends, and in particular his lawyer for the latest development in his life, saying “I love you all.”

Mr Al Kontar did not reveal where he had been in the almost two months since his social media pages went silent, but at the time of his detention.

"Passengers at the boarding area are supposed to get on their flights but this man did not do so,” Mr Ali had said in the first week of October.

“He is situated in a forbidden zone and we had to take the necessary action."

Mr Al Kontar had applied to Cambodia and Ecuador for asylum, but was refused. However, it seems from his video that attempts by Canadian citizens to lobby their minister for immigration have been successful.

Canada’s department for immigration could not be reached in time for publication, but as of January this year Pew Research Centre confirmed the country had resettled over 52,000 Syrians.

Updated: November 27, 2018 01:55 PM