A Syrian family ripped apart by war are making a desperate appeal to be reunited with their children in Sheffield.
Distraught parents Muhammed and Amal Alwadi left Syria shortly after the war began and have not seen their two eldest children for more than nine months.
Their son Kusai, 19, is living in a refugee camp in Calais, France, and their 20 year old daughter is living in Turkey. Neither are allowed to join their family in Sheffield.
UK family reunion rules allow parents who have successfully claimed asylum to apply for close family members to join them – but not if their children are 18 or over.
Dad Muhammed said: “Show me a father who can live far away from his children. We fled our home country due to war, bombing and destruction. Now I can no longer see them and they cannot see me.”
Mum Amal said: “I need my children. I miss them so much. I still remember their voices in my ears everyday.
“I miss their laughter, our late nights together, having fun together. Our life is truly heartrending without them.”
The Alwadi family became separated in 2012 when conflict hit their hometown of Daraa, in Syria, and forced them to flee to Libya.
When life in Libya became increasingly dangerous, Muhammed made the journey to Europe in the hope of building a safer life for his family.
After being granted refugee status in December 2014, Muhammed immediately began the process of applying for family reunion, and almost a year later his wife Amal and their two youngest children Lin and Majd were granted visas to join Muhammed in the UK.
The couple’s two eldest children were not granted visas – simply because they were over the age of 18.
The family have recorded a video message to Home Secretary Theresa May as part of the British Red Cross campaign Torn Apart, which aims to raise awareness of the limitations of UK refugee family reunion rules.
Alex Fraser, Director of Refugee Support and International Family Tracing at the British Red Cross said: “The Alwadi family are just one example of how current government policy is keeping families separated and alone, at a time when being together as a family is what matters to them most. They deserve better than this.”