Orphan discovers his family is ALIVE three decades after he was brought to Britain as a victim of Saddam Hussein’s bombs.

An 'orphan' who captured the heart of the nation in the early nineties after his face was badly scarred in a bombing orchestrated by Saddam Hussein has been reunited with his birth mother after spending three decades believing she was dead. 
Amar Kanim, 40, from Basra, Iraq, was brought to the UK by British politician Emma Nicholson (now Baroness of Winterbourne) in September 1991 after she discovered him in a hospital in Ahvaz, Iran. Then a small boy, his body had been left covered in agonising burns when the Iraqi dictator bombed Shia Muslim communities in southern Iraq on March 1, 1991 - the first day of an official ceasefire. Baroness Nicholson teamed up with the Sunday Times to launch a fundraising campaign to bring Amar to the UK to undergo complex plastic surgery. Since arriving at Heathrow airport in February 1992, with nothing other than the clothes on his back, Amar has remained in the UK and is currently living in Devon. But after being contacted on Facebook by a man in the Middle East who claimed his mother is alive and looking for him, Amar has since been reunited with his mother and brother - the family he thought he would never see again. His incredible story is told on tonight's BBC Panorama, with Baroness Nicholson branding his reunion with his mother a 'miracle'.Speaking about the day he was caught up in the napalm assault, Amar recalled playing with his siblings on the 'beautiful afternoon' before hearing gunshots, sirens and planes overhead. 
'My sister and I hid on the ground floor of a warehouse known as "the silo" with about 30 other people,' he explained.' There was a huge bang above us - and a bomb came crashing down through the levels of the building. There was a blinding white flash. I couldn't find my sister. All I could do was cover my eyes.
'Everyone else had gone deeper into the warehouse and they were trapped, but I was next to the door. I smashed it down and ran for my life. I think I was the only one to get out alive.' Amar ran to the nearby Shatt al-Arab River and jumped in the water in an attempt to stop the excruciating burning of his skin. He believes he must have passed out as that's when his memory goes blank. Amar assumes he was picked up by anti-Sadam troops who found him unconscious on the riverbank, as he was taken to a refugee camp in Iran. His next memory is waking up in hospital in 'so much pain'.' Every movement was agonising,' he recalled. 'I couldn't speak, eat, drink or swallow. I didn't know where my family was. I was alone and I didn't think I was going to make it.'It was at this hospital six months later, in September 1991, that Baroness Nicholson - who was on a mission in the Middle East to raise awareness about Sadam's brutal crimes against his own people - came across Amar, whom she described as a 'terrible sight'.In a speech to the House of Commons that December, she told how Amar 'can't smile. He can't cry. He can't laugh. He can't do anything. He has no muscles in his face. No nerves. No nothing'.Having been informed he was the only member of his family to have survived the attack, she embarked on a mission to raise thousands of pounds to bring Amar to the UK for treatment. Speaking about the moment he arrived in London to a sea of the press, Amar said: 'I had never seen a camera before. I hadn't even seen a television. I didn't really understand what was going on.' He added that he felt 'safe' with Emma, and went along with it as he knew it would be the only way to get the help he desperately needed. Amar underwent 27 plastic surgery operations in a year, all of which took place in the Rothschild Ward at Guy's Hospital. Surgeons performed pioneering procedures to graft skin from his hip to his neck, known as 'waltzing'.Having struggled to adapt to city life when housed with a British-Iraqi family in the capital, Amar eventually moved in with Baroness Nicholson and her husband, businessman Sir Michael Caine, at her constituency home in Devon. He chose not to be adopted, but the couple became his legal guardians and Baroness Nicholson set up the Amar Foundation, which works with vulnerable people in conflict zones across the Middle East - including a school for orphans in Basra, Amar's birthplace. He settled in well, attending the nearby village school, taking up football, fishing and the drums, which he played in a local rock band. Amar claims that while Baroness Nicholson 'saved his life', for which he is incredibly grateful, he struggled in the quieter moments with a sense of loss for his family.' I felt very isolated at times,' he said. 'I felt like I couldn't trust anyone. It's the most horrible position to be in because, without a family, you feel like you don't belong to anyone. You feel like you're born out of nothing.' Baroness Nicholson lost her husband in 1999 to cancer, which hit Amar hard – another bereavement he had to deal with. It had a profound effect on him, and he left what he'd begun to view as his family home to live in London, where he couch-surfed and sometimes lived out of his car. He admits he even fell out with Baroness Nicholson, choosing to 'go it alone', but it was a 'difficult time' and he struggled. His shock reunion with his family came about by complete chance after BBC cameraman Andy Alcroft was approached in Exeter by one of Amar's friends in summer 2018 and urged to tell his story. At this point Amar had moved back to Devon, where he lived in a bare flat - single, unemployed and on benefits, having survived last winter with no central heating because he couldn't afford to pay the gas bill. Meeting with the BBC crew, Amar revealed he'd received messages from a man called Mustafa in the Middle East a dad-of-three living in Erbil, northern Iraq. He shared videos he'd been sent, taken from a Kurdish TV station, in which an elderly woman claims to be his mother but Amar deleted it at first believing it to be a cruel prank. In one clip, the woman held up a photo of the newspaper picture of Amar arriving at Heathrow in 1991, and sobbed: 'He is my son, my Amar.'
The BBC team travelled to Iraq to track down the source of the video and the woman claiming to be his mother. After weeks of investigating and following up leads, they made contact with the husband of the woman claiming to be Amar's mother Zahra, who had remarried after Amar's father died in a road accident before the bombing; a fact Amar confirmed was true. The couple, who live in Karbala 311 miles from Basra then sent over a school photograph of Amar though he struggled to recognise himself as it was taken before his scars as well as documents and certificates to confirm Zahra's identity. Zahra said she'd been trying to find Amar for 30 years, having searched for him for days in the rubble after her youngest daughter Zainab was killed in the attack. Two years ago, a family friend found a picture of Amar holding the hand of a politician in England in the 1990s, which encouraged her to contact the media. Admitting he was desperate for her claims to be true, Amar suggested they both take a DNA test which proves Zahra is indeed his biological mother. An emotional Amar exclaims: 'I've got a mum… I couldn't be happier about this. Nobody loves you more than your mother,' adding that he'll celebrate with 'a few drinks tonight'.Nervous and excited, he prepares to make his first trip back to Iraq since 1992 to visit the family he thought he'd lost forever...