Syrian 'White Helmet' Filmmaker Can’t Enter the US to Attend the Oscars

Academy Award nominee Khaled Khatib won’t be at the Oscars tonight due to unclear circumstances regarding his passport.

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Feb 26 2017, 9:51pm

A 21-year-old Syrian cinematographer whose film has been nominated for an Academy Award won't be at the Oscars Sunday due to unclear circumstances regarding his passport.

Khaled Khatib worked on Netflix Original "The White Helmets," a 40-minute harrowing look at the devastation of Syria's civil war. The film has been nominated for Best Documentary Short at the 89th annual Academy Awards, airing Sunday, Feb. 27.

Khatib was scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles Saturday for the event on a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul—he'd received a U.S. visa specifically to attend. But according to an internal Trump administration correspondence seen by the Associated Press, the Department of Homeland Security blocked his entry due to "derogatory information," which can range from terrorist connections to passport issues.

In a statement released on Twitter Saturday, the White Helmets say the Syrian government canceled Khatib's passport.

In a phone interview with NBC News published Sunday, however, Khatib said the US government revoked his visa.

According to documents seen by the AP, Turkish officials told Khatib he'd need a passport waiver to enter the United States. DHS reportedly did not issue him one.

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