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As Trump's travel ban loses, Syrian family reunites at Sea-Tac

Ahmad Al Halabi and daughter, Jaidaa, reunite at Sea-Tac Airport.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones
Ahmad Al Halabi and daughter, Jaidaa, reunite at Sea-Tac Airport.

“This is the best day of my life,” said Syrian refugee Jaidaa Al Halabi, just minutes after she stepped off a plane at Sea-Tac Airport.


Her younger brother, Mohamed, waited anxiously at the arrival gate then sprinted past the security line as he first glimsped Jaidaa come around the corner.


A younger sister, Alaa, leaned her head back and let out a shout as the tears overcame her.



About a week ago, we brought you the story of the Al Halabi family - Syrian refugees who fled Aleppo and were recently separated by President Trump’s travel ban.


In December, the parents and younger children were resettled in Tukwila just south of Seattle. But the older daughter, Jaidaa, who’s seven months pregnant, was stuck overseas with her husband and brother.


Their flight was canceled when the executive order came down.


This reunion seemed a long shot in the days following the executive order, which indefinitely stopped the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S.

[asset-images[{"caption": "Alaa Al Halabi, 11, is overcome with emotion as her siblings arrive in Seattle.", "fid": "133755", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201702/P1080896.JPG", "attribution": "Credit KUOW photo/Liz Jones"}]]Then after Washington state filed a lawsuit against Trump’s executive order, the travel ban was temporarily lifted last week. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday also ruled to keep the executive order on hold.


"We're very thankful that we're now back together, just to be as we were before,” Jaidaa said. “Thank you to everyone who helped my family."

[asset-images[{"caption": "The Al Halabi family.", "fid": "133756", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201702/P1080898.JPG", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Liz Jones"}]]

Speaking through an interpreter, Jaidaa’s mother, Imtithal Al Halabi said she'll call America “the land of miracles.”

“Today I was assured that the United States is the land of liberty and land of justice and the law is above all,” said Ahmad Al Halabi, Jaidaa's father.

[asset-images[{"caption": "Imtihal Al Halabi embraces her son, Walid, who just arrived to Seattle.", "fid": "133754", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201702/P1080868.JPG", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Liz Jones"}]]

A week ago, Ahmad said they held off on donations of a free crib, baby clothes and other equipment because they first wanted to get their children safely to the U.S.  Ahmad said the crib is now set up, ready for their first granddaughter.


The Al Halabis are among more than 230 Syrian refugees who have been resettled in Washington state since the conflict started in Syria in 2012.

Year started with KUOW: 2006