After a decade of violence in Syria and economic collapse in Lebanon, Ireland promised Mohamad and Shahinaz the chance to build a secure and safe life for their young family.
Last March, the couple were due to be interviewed by Irish officials who had come to Lebanon to resettle 400 Syrian refugees to Ireland.
The couple had completed a lengthy pre-selection process with the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, and sold many of their household possessions in preparation for their move. The meeting with Irish officials was supposed to be the last hurdle before the family could call Ireland home.
Then, two days before their interviews, Mohamad and Shahinaz were told the team had returned to Ireland due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Their interviews were cancelled, with no details of when they would be rescheduled.
“The cancellation of the interview was a big shock,” says Mohamad, who is from Aleppo, one of the main
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