World’s oldest refugee: Syrian Kurdish woman aspires to family reunion in Germany



ARA News

Sabria Khalaf is a 107-year-old Syrian Kurd who escaped her war-torn homeland, with a hope of reaching Germany where her children and grandchildren are based. However, after crossing the borders into Turkey and arriving later in Greece, Sabria was not allowed to continue her journey to Germany due to the restrictions imposed on asylum procedures in Western Europe.

Sabria is considered the world’s oldest refugee. Over more than a century, the old Kurdish Yezidi woman witnessed remarkable developments in the region, including the end of Ottoman Empire, World War I, the French mandate in Syria, rule of the Assad family over four decades and the ongoing civil war.

“We had never experienced such violence,” she told the Globalist in reference to the current war in Syria. “I am ill. I don’t have much time left. I want to die surrounded by my family. That is all I want from God.”

The Kurdish Yezidi minority suffered persecution by Islamist groups in northeatsern Syria. Several Yezidi villages were exposed to attacks by Islamists, resulting in forced displacement of dozens of families from the area. Sabria, assisted by her son, insisted to stay in Syria, but the war conditions became unbearable for the 107-year-old woman.  

The growing security vacuum and lack of basic supplies constrained lives of millions of Syrians and led hundreds of thousands to resort to neighbouring countries, while a minority of displaced Syrian families could reach western countries and receive staying permit. However, Sabria remains stuck in Athens on the hope of family reunion with her extended family in Germany. 

A petition campaign was launched recently by the Globalist to urge Chancellor Angela Merkel to let Sabria into Germany


By: Adib Abdulmajid

ARA News


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