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21 April 2022, 19:24

Belarus' Red Cross helps Lebanese-Syrian refugee family reunite

MINSK, 21 April (BelTA) – Belarus has provided assistance with the reunification of a family of Lebanese-Syrian refugees, BelTA has learned.

The Syrian citizens Mohamad Othman (born in 2006) and Karim Othman (born in 2011) have been staying in Belarus since November 2021. They arrived in Belarus together with their mother Roula El Hamdan (a citizen of Lebanon) in order to proceed to the European Union as refugees.

Together with the mother and another brother the boys tried to get to Germany where their father has been working for many years already. Attempts to use official immigration channels were unsuccessful and the family decided to illegally enter Poland and then Germany. During a night trek Karim fell into a river. He and a brother lost their mother like that. Karim was hospitalized in Belarus. A relative took him and the brother in later on.

The boys' relative Alar Asfur said: “His temperature was 34.5C. He spent three days in hospital and I took him in on the fourth day. They've been living with me ever since. Karim didn't feel well in the first few months. He couldn't sleep and even talked and cried out at night. In the hospital the doctor said he was shouting all the time and crying. He was afraid of what he'd seen at the border and he didn't know where mother was.”

The kids phoned their parents every day. “The mother also cried. She was even ready to go back to Belarus alone and leave the family in Germany. But I'd always asked her to wait a bit more. I wanted her to wait and see that everything will be fine and the kids will be with them,” Alar Asfur continued. “The kids have been looking forward to it. Prior to this they had no hope that this moment will ever come. It was unbelievable for them and they were sure they would be sent back. I always said: calm down, you are in Belarus. Even if Germany doesn't let you in, if you don't reunite with the parents, you can stay here. And then everything went as if according to plan.”

The mother of the kids, her husband, and the eldest son now live in the German city of Emden.

Assisted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Belarusian Society of the Red Cross helped the Othmans reunite. The German embassy in Minsk granted Schengen visas to the children.

The children left Minsk for Poland on 21 April. They were accompanied by representatives of the Belarusian Society of the Red Cross. Their father and the Belarusian consul in Biala Podlaska Vladislav Khallo met them on the Polish side.

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