Dubai: A recently released prisoner who has been stuck at Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 2 for more than two weeks says he would rather go back to prison than return to his home country , Syria.
34-year-old Wasfi Tayseer Jarad has been issued with a deportation order but has been denied entry into Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey and at the same time cannot return to his native country due to the current situation.
Jarad was jailed in 2010 over drug cases and was sentenced to seven years followed by deportation but was recently released after memorising the Quran.
He told Gulf News that before his release the prison authority sent his passport to the Syrian Consulate in Dubai in order to renew it.
“Because of the conflict in my home country, Dubai Police tried to help me get deported to any country which would accept me,” Jarad said.
Jarad said that instead of renewing his passport the Syrian Consulate cancelled it and issued an out-pass for him. According to consulate officials the passports of people who have been in prison are no longer renewed. This decision came into force earlier this year.
“I was issued an out-pass in order to be forced to travel to Syria,” he said.
“My brother who lives in Dubai booked a ticket to Jordan for me but when I arrived I was denied entry and blacklisted and deported back to Dubai on the same flight. He added that he booked another ticket to Lebanon and on his arrival to Beirut airport was also denied entry.
“I booked another flight to Turkey and the same thing happened,” said Jarad.
He said that he has now been at the departure lounge for 16 days.
Jarad cannot enter the UAE as he has to be deported due to his sentence in the drug case and also he has no passport with him. He comes from the Dara’a area of Syria and says he does not know what his destiny will be if he goes back.
“I cannot go back home. I was offered a flight to Latakia on Syrian Air but I will not go because I’m sure I will be killed over there,” he said.
Jarad says that he has been living on charity. He usually eats a burger a day and washes in a public toilet.
He says has become a familiar face at the airport and a few days ago flydubai kindly started giving him food coupons.
“I have appealed to airport immigration officers in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey for help but they say they cannot help me because I’m barred from entering their countries because I have no passport and also I need a visit visa to go to Jordan and no country will let me in with my out-pass,” he told Gulf News.
He said that he has no money as he has spent all his money on airfare. Jarad’s bag contains few belongings. He said the airport authorities allowed one of his friends to send underwear to him. He washes his one set of clothes in the public washroom.
“Many workers at the airport know me. Most pity me and some even cry after listening to my story of being stranded here,” said Jarad.
“I have no clue what to do. My family fled Syria to Al Zatary refugee camp in Jordan. My father in Jordan told me that he will try to get me a Syrian passport and send it to me here,” he said.
He said he cannot spend any more time at the airport.
“I wish I could go back to Dubai jail. I cannot tolerate my situation with no place to go,” he said.
“Currently, no country wants to receive me because I’m Syrian and because I have no passport. I hope someone will give me a helping hand,” he said.
Jarad sits with his small bag and jacket at his side and watches travellers. He reads newspapers, watches TV and uses WhatsApp to talk to his family.
He buys phone cards, with money which people have donated to him, to make calls.