South East Wales

Syrian refugee baby reunited with Cardiff family

The Al Sharki family being reunited with Omar Image copyright British Red Cross

A refugee baby has been reunited with his Syrian family on his first birthday after four months apart.

Mousa and Rajaa Al Sharki, who live in Cardiff, were forced to leave Omar in Lebanon, where he was born after they fled Syria, because of a passport error.

Omar was not able to board the flight to the UK and was left with Mrs Al Sharki's sister-in-law.

The British Red Cross has called for the passport process to be simplified.

Mrs Al Sharki said: "He was only eight months old when I left him, he wasn't even on solid food yet.

"The authorities in Lebanon told me if I didn't leave the country then I would never be allowed to come to the UK."

'No choice'

She said she had to make a snap decision to leave with her other four children.

"I feel so guilty for leaving him, but I had no choice," she said.

Omar's passport stated he was born in Damascus, Syria, rather than in Lebanon, meaning he could not rejoin his family until it was changed.

But following a request from the Red Cross, the International Committee of the Red Cross tracing unit in Beirut helped get Omar the exit visa he needed and the family was reunited at Heathrow Airport on his first birthday on Monday.

"I was so excited to see him again, I was so worried that he'd have forgotten my face but he smiled when he saw me," Mrs Al Sharki said.

"Words can't describe how happy I am to have him back with me in time for his first birthday."

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