News World Why this man has been living in an airport for more than two months

Why this man has been living in an airport for more than two months

Hassan Al Kontar has been trapped at a Malaysian airport for more than two months. Photo: Twitter
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A Syrian man has been abandoned by the international community and deserted at a Malaysian airport for more than two months, with nowhere to go.

It’s been 63 days since Hassan Al Kontar, 36, first arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Without a passport, a country to call home or an airline willing to fly him out, the Syrian man has been forced to live at Terminal 2.

‘I’m stuck here’

Mr Kontar left Syria in 2006 and ventured to the United Arab Emirates where he worked as an insurance marketing manager.

His life took a turn for the worse following the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

Mr Kontar was called to serve in the Syrian army but refused and as a result the Syrian embassy in the UAE declined to renew his passport in 2012.

“War is never the solution but unfortunately, even from where I am now, I am paying the price of its actions,” Mr Kontar told the BBC.

Mr Kontar could not renew his work permit and lost his job.

For six years, Mr Kontar hid in the UAE but was eventually found by authorities and deported to Malaysia with a three-month travel visa.

“It [Malaysia] is one of the very few countries in the world which offers visas upon arrival to Syrians like me,” he said.

In that time, Mr Kontar attempted to travel to Ecuador because it allowed Syrian nationals to enter the country without a visa.

But he said “for some reason” Turkish Airlines did not allow him to fly despite saving up enough money to buy a plane ticket.

“I found myself back at square one,” Mr Kontar said.

He overstayed his tourist visa and subsequently received a five-year ban from re-entering the country.

Malaysian authorities offered him an ultimatum – be deported to Syria or find a country that would give him a visa.

Mr Kontar tried to fly to Cambodia but was denied entry.

“I was deemed illegal in Malaysia so I chose to fly to Cambodia but they confiscated my passport upon arrival,” he said.

Since March 7, Mr Kontar has been stuck at Kuala Lumpur airport, with no country that will accept him.

“Unfortunately for Syrians, it’s impossible to [get] a visa to anywhere,” he told Canada’s CBC News. “So I’m stuck here.”

‘It’s a false hope’

Mr Kontar has bathed in public showers, slept under staircases and mostly lived off donated packets of rice and chicken since March.

He has taken to Twitter to document his ordeal and request for help from government agencies, NGOs and media.

“I don’t know why I keep doing these videos; maybe somewhere deep inside my feelings or my heart I need someone who cares, someone who may [be] able to help somewhere,” Mr Kontar said on March 23 in a video posted to Twitter.

“I know it’s hopeless. It’s a false hope.

“It’s a difficult situation. There’s no place to shower, there’s no place to sleep. I’m even sick but there is no medicine.

“I don’t know what to do. It seems like it will be my home for a while.”

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