A Syrian couple resettled in Scotland are desperately trying to reunite with their 9-year-old son after finding out he is still alive.
Mohammed Karou’s parents fled the war-torn country after he went missing, assuming that he had died in fighting between Kurdish and IS forces in north-east Syria.
After settling in Midlothian in March, Mohammed re-appeared in their home town of al-Malikiyah, but the family have struggled to bring him to the UK for six months without success.
The child is currently with an aunt who is unable to look after him properly.
Home Office rules prevent Mohammed from rejoining his parents until a DNA test is carried out. However, to reach an approved centre that can carry out the test and process his visa application, Mohammed would have to travel to Lebanon, Turkey or Iraq.
“You can’t imagine the pain this family are going through,” said Midlothian MP Owen Thompson, who has taken on their case. “They have gone from the joy of finding out that their son is still alive to the agony and frustration of the last six months of trying to get him out.
“They were offered a Red Cross chaperone to take Mohammed across the border but now the Home Office says that is not a good idea. The border area is highly dangerous and he couldn’t be expected to go across.”
Mohammed’s parents fear their son could come to further harm without proper care in the midst of a war zone. Since his original disappearance, the nine year-old has gone missing again, vanishing for two weeks before being found badly beaten, according to Mr Thompson.
He raised the Karou family’s plight with the Prime Minister yesterday in parliament. In reply to his question, Theresa May promised that Home Secretary Amber Rudd would examine the case.
“We need something to happen right now for Mohammed but we also know that he is only one of thousands of lost children in a similar situation,” Mr Thompson said. “The policy of re-uniting children with their families has to be re-examined and I will be pressing the Home Secretary to do that.”