For the past 50 days, a Syrian couple and their four children have spent almost every waking hour in a small corner of Moscow's airport. Until a week ago, the family—including three boys, aged 7 to 12, and a 3-year-old girl—also slept there, though Russian officials have since put them up at night in a hotel located within Sheremetyevo International Airport, reports CNN. Denied entry into Russia and unable to return to Syria where they fear they will be killed, the Kurdish family is living in limbo in the old smoking room next to departure gate 36 in Terminal E, though they hope to eventually settle in Russia where they have family, reports the BBC. CNN reports the Russian government found the family's visas to be fake, though other reports differ on that.
Quartz reports the family's passports were authenticated but quotes an aid worker who says she was told the family's "request for asylum will be denied because of the criminal charges for crossing the border illegally." Hasan Abdo Ahmad suspects his family was denied entry because of Russia's ties to Syria, though Russia's Foreign Ministry says the country took in 8,000 Syrians last month (the BBC reports 1,600 Syrians have been given temporary asylum and just three have refugee status). Ahmad says the family first escaped to Irbil, Iraq, but they applied for visas to Russia as the Islamic State drew nearer. They crossed into Turkey and reached Moscow via Istanbul on Sept. 10, per the Moscow Times. "I just feel so sorry for my children," Ahmad's wife, Gulistan, adds. "They want to know what we've done so wrong for this to happen." For now, they wait, as lawyers try to plead their case. (Mystery surrounds the death of a journalist at an airport this month.)