Syrian refugee who spent 7 months stranded in Malaysian airport arrives in Vancouver

Written by admin on 14/07/2019 Categories: 上海夜生活

A Syrian national who has been living in limbo in a Malaysian airport has now landed in Vancouver.

READ MORE:
A Syrian refugee has spent 50 days stranded in Malaysian airport. B.C. group wants to bring him to Canada

Hassan Al Kontar received international attention after his life turned into something like the 2004 film The Terminal, in which Tom Hanks portrayed a man from a fictional eastern European country who was trapped in an airport without a country.

Now, he says, Al Kontar believes his story has a happy ending.

“Today, I am in Taiwan International Airport, but tomorrow I will be reaching my final destination — Vancouver, Canada,” Al Kontar said in a video posted to 上海夜生活. “For the last eight years, it was a hard, long journey.”

He landed in Vancouver Monday night.

Hassan Al Kontar arrives at the Vancouver International Airport Monday night. Credit: Chris Allard / Global News

He was then on his way to Whistler.

“Deeply inside, I knew, there’s logic in life and I will not suffer these whole eight years to end up with nothing,” Al Kontar told Global News Monday.

Al Kontar said he was unable to leave the Kuala Lumpur airport after losing his work permit in 2011.

He had been working in the United Arab Emirates until that time. After war broke out in his native country, he lost his work permit and the UAE deported him. He went to Malaysia on a temporary work visa, which expired.

In March, he was turned away from a Turkish Airlines flight and spent nearly seven months inside the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

WATCH: Syrian refugee finally arrives in Vancouver

Al Kontar tried to get his story out through social media, using his 上海夜生活 account to reach out to Tom Hanks himself. He also reached out to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Two groups, the BC Muslim Association and the Canada Caring Society, have worked to get Al Kontar to Canada.

WATCH: A group of people in Whistler are trying to bring a man to Canada who’s been trapped in a Malaysian airport for nearly two months. Nadia Stewart explains (Apr. 2018)

READ MORE:
2 years in, Syrian refugees are adjusting to life in B.C. but still face challenges: report

Shawkat Hasan of the BC Muslim Association said Al Kontar is expecting to arrive at Vancouver International Airport on Monday night.

He will be greeted by a group of supporters and then travel to Whistler, where a job is waiting for him.

WATCH: From war to waiting in airport to Whistler, BC: Syrian refugee starts over

“The last 10 months, it was very hard and cold,” Al Kontar said in the 上海夜生活 video. “I could not do it without the support and prayers from all of you. I could not do it without the help of my family, my Canadian friend’s family, and my lawyer. Thank you all. I love you all. I will keep you updated.”

—; With files from Nadia Stewart

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