Sheffield dad ‘fears for daughter’ in war-torn Yemen as passport delay goes on

Ahmed Saleh and his wife Amal Zawqari at home in Sheffield whilst their 11 month old daughter Kawther Saleh is stranded in war torn Yemen due to passport delays. 'Picture by Dean Atkins
Ahmed Saleh and his wife Amal Zawqari at home in Sheffield whilst their 11 month old daughter Kawther Saleh is stranded in war torn Yemen due to passport delays. 'Picture by Dean Atkins

A Sheffield dad whose baby daughter is stranded in war-torn Yemen ‘fears for her life’ as sniper bullets and anti-tank shells rip through the house where she is staying.

Ahmed Saleh, aged 37, of Castle Court, Hyde Park, applied for a passport application for his one-year-old daughter Kawther before the conflict reached the city of Aden, where she is staying with her grandmother and extended family.

Aftermath of fighting in Aden, Yemen

Aftermath of fighting in Aden, Yemen

But last week, an anti-tank shell came through two walls in the property where Ahmed’s daughter is staying, while sniper bullets fall around the home.

Ahmed said: “I haven’t had contact for six days now.

“The phone lines have been brought down and anyone who tries to fix them get shot by rebel snipers. I fear for my daughter and my family, I’ve hardly slept.”

Ahmed, a Sheffield resident since 1999, and his wife Amal, 31, had their daughter in Yemen in May 2014, but had to return to the UK for Ahmed to care for his sick mother. He had notification of the passport application on January 2 and was told it would take 12 weeks.

Bullets that have fallen around the house

Bullets that have fallen around the house

However, five months later after much deliberation over certain documents, a passport has still not been issued.

Ahmed said: “I’ve sent everything, even documents I had to send again. I can’t understand the delay.”

Ahmed fears the situation is so bad that even with a passport, he may not be able to get Kawther out safely.

He said: “People are getting shot on the road to the main port and evacuation to nearby Eritrea and Djibouti isn’t safe either.”

Fighting has intensified between pro-goverment Sunni fighters and Shia Houthi militia with the US and Saudi Arabia leading airstrikes against the rebels.

A spokeman from the Passport Office said: “Her Majesty’s Passport Office will not issue a passport until all necessary checks have been satisfactorily completed.”