This Syrian Man Is Tweeting For Help After Being Stranded In A Malaysian Airport For Two Months

    Hassan al-Kontar is appealing to anyone to get him out.

    Hassan al-Kontar, 36, is a Syrian man from a small town roughly 60 miles south of the capital, Damascus.

    Hassan al Kontar

    Since March 7, he has been living in Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur airport. "I have lost count actually, because it is useless counting," he told BuzzFeed News.

    Part 2 #war #Syria #refugees #peace #love #royal #royalfamily #story #media #newspaper #tv #help #news #journal #un #hrw #death #life #human #pet #song #movie #writer #Germany #canada #usa #czech #Trending #Kids #Tiger #KisanLongMarch #Japan #police

    He has been live-tweeting his experiences, filming himself to tell the world why he is stuck in the airport.

    Like the rest of the normal people, I have some good days and bad days Today is not one of my finest days😶 مثل باقي الأشخاص الطبيعيين بالحياة لدي ايام جيدة وأيام سيئة 😒 #syrian_stuck_at_airport #mystory_Hassan #airport_is_my_home #سوري_عالق_بمطار_كوالالمبور_الدولي

    "When I wake up I face two types of problems," he said, sharing a photo of where he sleeps. "I don’t have a normal person’s morning."

    Hassan al Kontar / BuzzFeed News

    "Cleaning is tricky. To take a shower I use the special needs facility because people don’t go in there too much," he explained. "Now I have clean clothes, so it is better than the first month, but once I was [so] dirty and it annoyed me [so much] I could not sleep. My clothes stank."

    Every day, he has a meal provided to him by Asia Airlines, as he's currently in its terminal.

    Hassan al Kontar / BuzzFeed News

    Kontar said the airline has accepted some responsibility for him, so it will continue feeding him every day. BuzzFeed News has contacted Air Asia for comment.

    "It’s the same thing every day, it is the same meal. Sometimes, every two or three days, I buy a hamburger, just to change the mood.

    "Even a cup of coffee is a challenge, you know? I don’t have access to a restaurant here or coffee shops, so I simply have to ask the workers, who are cleaning the toilets or the floors, just to bring me a cup of coffee, which may take an hour or a few hours."

    This is how far he can walk. He doesn't have a boarding pass, so he can't go beyond checkpoints in and out of the airport.

    Hassan al-Kontar / BuzzFeed News

    This is Kontar's view. He sits here every morning. "I [have] become less hopeful," he said. "I have no one."

    Hassan al-Kontar / BuzzFeed News

    BuzzFeed News has attempted to contact Malaysia Airports for comment.

    Kontar explained how this all came to pass. "Small issues, issues that you never thought would be an issue in your life but all of a sudden become a huge problem," he said from the airport.

    Hassan al Kontar

    His problems started in 2011, when the Syrian civil war broke out.

    He was in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), working as an insurance marketing manager. His passport expired and because he had not served in the military in Syria, he was unable to get a new one, effectively becoming an undocumented immigrant overnight.

    "After that, I was in the solar energy field because I could not have a legal visa, so I was working part-time in solar energy fields. I became an expert in that!"

    However, he was eventually detained by UAE authorities last year after attempting to renew his passport. Officials said he could either go to Syria or to Malaysia, which is one of the few countries in the world that doesn't require a visa ahead of arrival.

    But it wasn't that simple. He tried to book another flight — using nearly all of his savings — to Ecuador, which admits Syrian refugees and has a path to residency.

    "But the Turkish airline did not allow me to board and they canceled my ticket at the last minute."

    The next time, he tried to fly to Cambodia, another country that technically can allow Syrian refugees a visa on arrival. But this time it was the Cambodian authorities that were the problem, refusing to let him into the country and stating that refugees needed to meet certain (unclear) "requirements", according to the Phnom Penh Post.

    So Kontar was put back on a plane to Malaysia: "I am stuck here again."

    BuzzFeed News has contacted Turkish Airlines for comment.

    Kontar said he misses everything about his country. Asked who he misses the most, he responded: "I can't answer that. I miss them all, the living and the dead ones."

    He has not seen his family since December 2008, when he left to work in the UAE. "They are safe. They have their own problems they need to solve, [but] they are worrying," he said.

    "Since 2011 we are facing this new type of racism: It is not about religion or color anymore, it is about Syrian or non-Syrian. It is about us as a people, rich and poor."

    BuzzFeed News

    Kontar tries to stay hopeful, but his options are limited. He needs to get a visa for another country, or a temporary residency visa for Malaysia. In the worst-case scenario he will be sent back to Syria, where he could face imprisonment as a result of him never doing military service.

    "They will force me to join the military and fight...after investigating me for god knows how long."

    Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

    Contact Rose Troup Buchanan at

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