In 2015, Haitham al-Kurdi made the dangerous journey from Syria to Denmark alone, planning to bring his wife and children later. Over the following eight years, his hopes were repeatedly dashed as Danish asylum policies tightened.
Khaled and his three-year-old daughter Jawahir have only ever met on the phone. She was not yet born when he fled Syria in 2018, aiming to apply for family reunification with his wife and their daughter. But they missed a bureaucratic deadline, and for three years the family has been in limbo.
When Nisrine and her family made the decision to flee Lebanon for Denmark in 2015, there was a snag: Her 12-year-old daughter Nadine had to return to Syria to get a passport. The border closed, and Nisrine made the painful decision to leave her behind—temporarily, she thought. Seven years later, she is still fighting to reunite with her.
Alaa fled to Germany at 16, after her brother was disappeared by Syrian government forces. She hoped to bring her parents later, but her reunification request was denied. She has not seen her parents for seven years, and has never met her six-year-old brother.
Mayada fled to Sweden in 2015 and applied for family reunification with her two sons, Rabieh and Adeeb. Rabieh was accepted, but Adeeb turned 18 during the process and was rejected. She has not seen him for eight years.
Syria Direct presents ‘Distance’: A podcast exploring how European family reunification systems keep Syrian families apart
“Distance,” an upcoming podcast by Syria Direct, offers an intimate portrayal of the pain and rage of mothers, fathers, sons and daughters caught in a bureaucratic nightmare after their family reunification requests were rejected by European migration authorities.