Belfast Telegraph

Syrian whose ID papers are stuck in war zone asks for help to gain Irish visa

Tareq Samha wants to join his wife who has been offered a job in Galway.

The family want to live in Galway (Jesse Malone/PA)
The family want to live in Galway (Jesse Malone/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

A Syrian man has asked the Irish government to cut through red tape preventing him from moving to Galway with his wife and step-daughter.

Tareq Samha is currently living in Turkey with his British wife Jesse Malone and their daughter Kes after he fled from Syria during the war.

Ms Malone has been offered a job with Amnesty International in Galway, but in order for the family to move together, Mr Samha would need to retrieve his ID documents from the Syrian border city of Killis.

The Irish and British governments have both advised against travel to Kilis, on the border with Turkey, after it suffered rocket attacks from Isis in 2016, which left 21 dead.

The couple, who married earlier this year, have been together for more than two years.

Mr Samha applied for an Irish visa to enter the country as the spouse of an EU national exercising her right to free movement and to take employment with an international human rights organisation.

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Mr Samha with Jesse and Kes (Family handout/PA)

While they wait for the visa approval, the family are living in Istanbul and Ms Malone has had to postpone the start date for her new job.

She said the idea of travelling without her husband is not an option for them, due to the political situation in Turkey.

“We’ve been waiting two months now in what is meant to be accelerated process, around three to four weeks. We filed our application on July 24,” she said.

“We’re in total limbo, totally suspended.

“I’m half-Irish and I’d always wanted to go back and it felt like the right move. We’d been discussing it since April, but a week after we applied the political situation changed overnight.”

Thousands of Syrian migrants have been told by the Turkish government to leave Istanbul or face expulsion in recent months.

Unregistered migrants have been told to return to the province where they are registered, in a bid to relieve pressures on the city.

This a horrible feeling, to feel that your entire future, your outlook as a family is all up to one person Jesse Malone

Ms Malone says although her husband is legally registered in Turkey, they worry over the future and are working hard to keep these fears from their 10-year-old daughter.

“We keep her out of things really. We don’t want to worry her, she’s more excited to move to Ireland than anything, but we’ve had to explain in an age-appropriate way.

“We would never separate. My take is families relocate all the time, and that’s their right and they don’t need permission from anyone.

“This a horrible feeling, to feel that your entire future, your outlook as a family is all up to one person.

“It’s the worst feeling. You feel owned, its excruciating, worrying, I don’t think anyone would understand the anxiety.”

KRW Law is supporting Mr Samha’s visa application, which was made by his solicitors in London.

A representative for KRW said: “We have now made formal representations to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin requesting that they intervene and request the Irish Embassy in Ankara to expedite Tareq’s visa application enabling him and his family to leave Turkey and to enter Ireland.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs has been contacted for comment.

PA

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