Syrian filmmaker Humam Husari will be allowed to enter UK to attend awards ceremony

A filmmaker who has helped ITV News cover the Syrian civil war for five years will be allowed to enter the UK to attend an awards ceremony after initially being barred.

Humam Husari is nominated for the Rory Peck award for his eyewitness journalism from the underground tunnels in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus, where there was a siege in March 2018.

The Home Office had rejected visa applications for Humam to enter the UK but on Friday he received a call from the consulate and he was granted a visa.

Trained at Brighton Film School, Humam will now be able to attend the ceremony in London on November 1.

Working as a freelance video journalist for ITV News, Humam's work includes:

Humam finally made his way out of Syria this summer and has now moved to Turkey, where his brother and parents live, with his wife. He has secured a job in the country and his wife is studying at university.

ITV News entered his initial application for a visa in order for him to attend the awards and have meetings, guaranteeing that it would pay all of his costs, book his return flights and accompany him throughout his stay.

The Home Office said they had to consider where Humam would return to Turkey after the ceremony and they subsequently rejected the application.

A second application was made for a 24-hour visa with updated supporting documents, showing he has the means and willing to stay in Turkey. He has paid his rent for a year up front and his wife's university fees have been settled in advance.

  • Humam Hasari reports from eastern Ghouta in March 2018

The second application was rejected with no reference to the new supporting information. A lawyer specialising in visa applications said it was clear the evidence was ignored.

An ITV News spokesperson said: “Humam has been crucial to ITV News’s coverage of the conflict in Syria. Since 2012, he has helped to inform the British public with his extraordinary eye-witness journalism, from documenting the harrowing aftermath of a chemical weapons attack to filming the brutal reality of living underground during the siege of Eastern Ghouta."

The initial visa rejection has prompted criticism from fellow journalists:

Clothilde Redfern, Director of the Rory Peck Trust, said, “The international news and media industry increasingly relies on local freelancers like Humam to cover events and stories that they are unable to reach.

"Humam is an experienced, trusted and talented freelance video journalist who has worked tirelessly over the last six years, and in the most difficult and dangerous of situations, to bring coverage of the conflict out of eastern Ghouta. He is a truly deserving Rory Peck Awards finalist."