1. ITV Report

Syrian journalist tells ITV News of her fears at being deported from UK

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers

An award-winning Syrian journalist who fled the Assad regime has told ITV News how she feels undermined by the British government.

Zaina Erhaim arrived into the UK in September, but was told her passport will be confiscated at the request of the Syrian government.

They claim her passport was stolen.

Erhaim has won various awards for mentoring other journalists in Aleppo and told ITV News: "I was really scared and I asked myself 'would they deport me back to Damascus?' What should I do?"

She blames the Assad regime for "daring to criticise it", and says they are "winning, thanks to the British government".

Zaina Erhaim's passport does not have enough space for a British visa. Credit: ITV News

Although Erhaim managed to gain entry into the UK using her second Syrian passport, the one she currently holds is full, expires on November 10, and there is no room for a British visa.

When questioned on whether her passport being denied was an attempt to silence her, she said: "It is, and he [Assad] is winning - thanks to the British government".

"What exactly the regime was [doing] is trashing all those who are daring to criticise it in the international platforms", she added.

Our first priority is the security of our borders and it would be irresponsible to ignore warnings about lost or stolen passports.

The British Government has no direct contact with the Assad regime due to the atrocities it has committed against the Syrian people.

– Home Office statement
Zaina Erhaim collects an award. Credit: ITV News

Amnesty International have said Erhaim's case is "incredibly embarrassing" for the UK government.

Kristyan Benedict, a spokesman for Amnesty International UK, said: "The UK government has found itself in an incredibly embarrassing situation where they're essentially being used by the murderous Assad regime to persecute one of Syria's leading human rights activists."

Meanwhile, ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers says Zaina will continue to highlight the repression of President Assad's regime with or without the help of the British government.