Syrian man who lived in KL airport for 6 months now heading for Canada

Mr Hassan Al Kontar had refused to return to his home country, claiming that he would have to serve compulsory military service.
Mr Hassan Al Kontar had refused to return to his home country, claiming that he would have to serve compulsory military service.PHOTO: HASSAN AL KONTAR

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Syrian man who had been living in Kuala Lumpur International Airport for about six months is on his way to Canada.

Hassan Al Kontar posted a video on Twitter from the Taiwan International Airport on Monday (Nov 26), on his way to Canada.

Apologising for looking unkempt and not being in touch for two months, Hassan said that he would be reaching his final destination - Vancouver, Canada - on Tuesday (Nov 27).

"For now, it's not important where I have been or what went on... What is important is today and tomorrow. The present and the future," he said.

Hassan said that the past eight years had been a hard and long journey, with the last 10 months "very hard and cold".

"I could not do it without support and prayers from all of you. I could not do it without the help of my family, my Canadian friend's family, my lawyer. Thank you all," he said, adding that he would keep everyone updated about himself.

He also urged everyone to keep on praying for those in refugee and detention camps all over the world.

 
 
 

Hassan had refused to return to his home country, claiming that he would have to serve compulsory military service.

According to several news reports, it is compulsory for Syrian men from the ages of 18 to 42 to serve in the military, with those evading it facing imprisonment and be forced to serve.

The 36-year-old had been stuck in KLIA2 since March and was detained by the police on Oct 1 for being in a forbidden zone.

He gained online fame when he posted videos of his life at the airport terminal on social media, which subsequently attracted the attention of human rights groups and the media.

Hassan's plight also drew comparison with the character played by Tom Hanks in the 2004 film The Terminal.

On Oct 4, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman said Hassan would be deported to his home country soon.

Mohd Azis was reported as saying the move had to be taken after Hassan rejected offers to live in several Asean countries willing to accept him as he only wanted to live in Canada, which stipulated that he could only enter the country two years from now.