A TERMINALLY-ill Syrian refugee in the west of Scotland who has been given just weeks to live, has made an emotional plea for her brother to be allowed into the country to let them see each other for the last time.

Zahreya Albani lives in Greenock with her husband Sahl Mohamad, their two teenage boys and nine-year-old daughter.

However, it has been nine years since she last saw her brother Salah, after they became separated during the bloody and ongoing civil war in Syria.

Zahreya and her immediate family arrived in Scotland in November 2015, and her younger brother eventually managed to make it to the relative safety of a refugee camp in Jordan.

Although the siblings try to video chat with each other whenever they can, they say they want to be able to see each other in person one last time.

Speaking through an interpreter, Zahreya told The National: “I have so many siblings and I just want to see some of them.

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“But I am very close to my brother and that’s why I’m focussing on trying to see him.

“I would also like to see my mother but she is still in Syria and I think it would be really difficult to get her over here.”

Two years after the family arrived in Scotland, Zahreya was diagnosed with brain cancer which doctors have since told her has been spreading aggressively.

Now she said she wanted to see her brother before it became too late.

“My brother doesn’t qualify to come over here for a family reunion visa, but I just want to see one of the members of the family before the worst, because they [the doctors] told me I have only a few weeks left,” said Zahreya.

Her husband added: “Every time we have contact with her brother, all of us we get so emotional, very emotional because of the disease and because at the moment, she is living just on diamorphine and other painkillers.

“She has had three operations on her brain, and three operations which didn’t work. She has also had a lot of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but what they have said is the treatment is not working.

“They say her body is not responding to any of the treatment at the moment.

“So that’s why they had to stop all the treatment, and just wait, basically and that’s why she’s living only on painkillers, very strong painkillers.”

The family’s lawyer Usman Aslam, from the Glasgow legal practice Rea Law, said the family reunion visa process could be a long and drawn-out one.

However, this was precious time that Zahreya did not have to spare, so he has applied for a visitor’s visa for her brother. He said: “This kind of case really should not be made difficult by the Home Office.

“The stringent requirements and documentation of Appendix V [visitors] is often impossible to meet by applicants like this one, who are often stuck in refugee camps. Refugees at the moment really are stuck between a rock and hard place.”

He said that although the UK Government frequently spoke of “safe” – and lawful – routes for migrants coming into the UK the majority of applicants had no way of qualifying for them.

“The Secretary of State is going on about safe legal routes to the UK, but most families I am coming across are not eligible for the safe routes such as family reunion, because of extremely restrictive rules,” said Aslam.

“Any application made outwith the rules can take years to solve, without guaranteed success. If we followed such a way in this case, one sibling will not be able to see his sister before the inevitable happens.

“We are hoping for a positive outcome for the client in these heart-breaking set of circumstances.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We will always take into account any compassionate circumstances relevant to a visa application. This includes those wishing to visit family in the UK with medical issues.”