11/27/2018 13:13 EST | Updated 11/27/2018 13:13 EST

Hassan Al Kontar, Syrian Stranded In Malaysian Airport For Months, Arrives In Vancouver

He says it's been a "hard, long journey."

Ben Nelms/The Canadian Press
Hassan Al Kontar hugs Laurie Cooper after arriving in Vancouver after flying from Kuala Lumpur in Vancouver on Nov. 26, 2018.

VANCOUVER — A Syrian man who was stranded for seven months at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport arrived in Vancouver on Monday night.

Hassan Al Kontar thanked his friends and his lawyer in a video posted to Twitter for helping him leave Malaysia.

He says he videotaped the message at the Taiwan International Airport as he waited to board a flight to Vancouver, which he described as his final destination.

On his Twitter account, Al Kontar says Canadian volunteers gave him hope after he submitted an application for asylum.

A GoFundMe page set up for him by Canadian volunteers raised money for his flight to Canada and living expenses.

The fundraising page says the 36-year-old was refused a new Syrian passport in 2012 when he working in the United Arab Emirates and was facing military service in his home country, which he refused.

'It was a hard, long journey'

Between 2012 and 2017, it says he was without status in the UAE and lost his job.

The fundraising page says he went to Malaysia, where Syrians do not need a visa, in October 2017.

The page says he was given a document allowing him to stay in Malaysia for three months, although he could not work. He tried unsuccessfully to leave the country and was sent back to Kuala Lumpur, where he remained in the arrivals terminal after he overstayed his visa.

"It was a hard, long journey," he says on the video posted to Twitter.

"The last 10 months it was very hard. ... I could not do it without the support and prayers from all of you."