Stranded British boy Muadh Zain finally escapes Syria
Paul Gallagher is a reporter for the Independent and Independent on Sunday having joined the group in 2012. He has previously worked for the European Voice, Daily Mirror and the Observer and been based in Brussels, Belfast, Tokyo and London.
Monday 09 June 2014
A British boy who had been trapped in Syria for three years has finally reached safety after crossing the border into Jordan.
Six-year-old Birmingham-born Muadh Zain had spent recent weeks sleeping under olive trees in his devastated village near the city of Daraa, as constant missile and barrel bomb attacks for the Syrian army made it impossible to stay indoors.
Inside war-torn Syria, Muadh witnessed the death of his uncle in a barrel bomb attack, while a missile landed on the house next door to him last month. Muadh has developed a squint to his right eye, an eye condition that requires immediate medical attention.
Muadh’s father Wael Zain launched a public campaign to save his son and lobbied the Foreign Office to do everything in their power to bring him home. Following a petition and support from the public, the British Embassy in Amman worked with Jordanian authorities to obtain permission for Muadh to cross to safety on Friday (6 June).
The border between Jordan and Syria remains closed and Muadh’s Syrian mother Doha is waiting to get her visa processed so the pair can travel to the UK.
Doha had indefinite leave to remain in the UK status but that expired while the pair were trapped in Syria exacerbating the problem of fleeing the country.
Mr Zain, 30, who has lived in the UK all his life and works for financial services giant Allianz in Canary Wharf, London, said: “I’m relieved that my son Muadh has been able to cross the border to safety. I know this wouldn’t have been possible without support from the public. We’re still waiting for Muadh’s mum to get her visa processed and then he can come to the UK to see his GP and get medical treatment.”
Mr Zain tweeted a picture of his son in Jordan and said: “Muadh is confused and traumatised but now that he’s safe, we can begin helping him to recover.”
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