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Syrian family stuck in Moscow airport

Juri Rescheto / jtm November 3, 2015

For more than 50 days, the transit zone of Moscow airport has been home to a family of six who have fled the Syrian civil war. They want to settle in Russia, but the government says their visas are fake.

Russland Moskau Flughafen Sheremetyevo Snowden Symbolbild
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

"How much longer do we have to wait? Which laws have we broken?" Gulistan Ahmad asks, her family having now lived for over eight weeks in a former smoking lounge at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.

The family fled Syria, flying from Turkey to Russia, where the family has relatives. There they were arrested - and have since been held - by airport officials for allegedly possessing fake passports.

"Our children haven't had any fresh milk for over a month," Ahmad told DW. "We don't even have blankets to sleep under - our children are freezing."

Immigration authorities are refusing to grant the family asylum without explanation.

There are currently 300,000 refugees within Russia.

Rosa Magometova, the family's lawyer, finds the situation absurd. The family was granted a visa to enter the country from the Russian embassy in Baghdad. "The authorities are contravening standard international and Russian rights," Ms. Magometova remarked.

Travelers passing by at the airport have been donating toys and food to the family. Their story is by now well-known in Russia.

With the help of Russian aid organizations, the family has filed a lawsuit against Russia, hoping to prevent the family's imminent deportation.