Syrian man in Tom Hanks-like limbo at Dubai airport

DUBAI Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:41am EDT

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DUBAI (Reuters) - A Syrian man has been stranded at Dubai airport for 16 days in a case with echoes of the Tom Hanks film "The Terminal".

Wasfi Tayseer Jarad has been stuck at the airport's Terminal 2 since being freed from prison after serving time for a drugs conviction and issued with a deportation order, the English-language Gulf News reported on Thursday.

With his native Syria in political turmoil, like Hanks' homeland in the 2004 film, authorities in Dubai gave the 34-year-old the option to travel to anywhere that would take him.

But his passport has expired, and Jordan -- where his family had fled from Syria's civil war -- refused to let him in. Turkey and Lebanon have done the same, returning Jarad on the same flights on which he arrived from Dubai, the newspaper said.

The case appears to have fallen between various jurisdictions: while Jarad himself could not be reached by telephone, several local government departments all referred calls to each other when contacted by Reuters. The prosecutor's office, responsible for overseeing the deportation of convicts, said it would look into the situation.

Jarad said he had been living on a hamburger a day and washing in toilets while his family tried to get him a new passport so he could join them in Jordan. He had been offered a flight to Latakia, Syria, but said he feared for his life there, telling the paper: "I wish I could go back to Dubai jail."

(Reporting by Sami Aboudi, Editing by William Maclean and Mark Trevelyan)

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