Burned Yazidi Boy, 2, Reunites with Family in Boston After 4 Months
A 2-year-old Yazidi boy, who traveled to the United States in October to undergo medical treatments for severe burns, is finally back in his parents’ arms.
Dilbireen, affectionally called Dili, reunited with his mother and father, Ajeel Muhsin and Flosa Khalaf, at Boston’s Logan Airport Hilton hotel on Monday evening, nearly four months after his father brought him to the U.S. for the first round of surgeries to restore his facial appearance and function.
Following the October procedure, Muhsin returned to Iraq in November to be with Khalaf, who gave birth to the couple’s second child, Trump, one day after the presidential election. On Monday, Dilbireen met his baby brother for the very first time.
“Thank God we’re all together again,” the father of two said to CNN, who were the first to report. “I want to thank everyone involved in this, to help us come here to do his surgeries. It’s really hard to stay away from your child even when they’re healthy, let alone he was burned and he was here alone.”
In January 2016, the toddler was severely burned on his face and feet when a gas heater erupted and set his crib on fire at a refugee camp, where the family fled to escape ISIS committed genocide against the Yazidis, a minority group in Iraq. A single blanket protected the rest of his body from getting burned. Though local doctors assessed Dilbireen’s injuries, they strongly urged Muhsin to seek treatment outside the country.
U.K.-based charity Road to Peace facilitated for Dilbireen to receive medical treatment at Shriners Hospitals for Children at no cost.
After Trump was born, the parents planned to return to the U.S. to be by Dilbireen’s side for the second round of surgeries but were unable to in early January when their visas were revoked and a passport application for Trump was denied.
Later that month, the newly-elected U.S. president signed an executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq.
This week, new U.S. visas were issued to Dilbireen’s parents and sibling courtesy of Road to Peace, which worked tirelessly to put together the reunion.
Dilbireen’s doctors told CNN he is doing well and will undergo his next reconstructive surgery soon. “As long as his surgeries are done and he gains his health back. We don’t want anything else in life,” the mother of two shared.
“My understanding is that this next round of surgeries will focus on the scar tissue around his right eye, but ultimately Shriners will determine what’s next for Dilbireen after they see him this week,” said Scott LaStaiti, a Los Angeles-based film producer and philanthropist who was involved in finding Dilbireen medical care.