Refugee Center in Greece
Refugee Center in Greece

Many Syrian families are dispersed throughout different refugee camps in various countries. Asmaa’s family is split between Germany and Greece. She spoke to InfoMigrants about risking her life and those of her children at sea in search of a better future.

Asmaa al-Issa's journey begins in Aleppo, Syria, where she lived with her husband, sons and daughter.

Three years ago, the family tried to flee. One son was injured and their daughter was killed. Asmaa’s husband and another of their sons succeeded in escaping, however, and traveled to Germany.

The 35-year-old woman and two boys were left in Aleppo, unable to get out until last year, when they managed to reach Turkey, and then Greece, finally arriving by boat in March 2017.

Long procedures  

The fact that Asmaa's family is scattered is very distressing to her. She says being prevented from seeing her husband and son, despite the relatively short distance between them, is a “crime.”  

She told InfoMigrants it is an “injustice” that while her husband had been granted secondary protection, he has not received a refugee passport that would enable him to travel to Greece to see his family.

This is a familiar situation for many Syrian families between Germany and Greece. Several months ago, the couple requested that Asmaa be allowed to travel from Greece to Germany with her two children, without success.

“If the reunion procedures are slow, there is no problem, but at least I hope to get a passport so that (my husband) can move with our son to Greece,” she said.

“This is in order to meet the rest of his family who has not seen them since he left Aleppo for three years with his eight-year-old son,” Asmaa continued.

“Mama, don't kill me!”      

In Aleppo, Asmaa studied Arabic literature. She now teaches Arabic to the staff of the humanitarian organizations working in the camp. She doesn't mind it here, she says, especially compared with what she suffered crossing the Mediterranean in a rubber boat with 60 people on board.  

“I saw death in front of my eyes at sea with my two children,” she recalled. Her three-year-old boy was afraid as the boat lurched through the rough waves. “He said Mama don't kill me, I don't want to die,” Asmaa told InfoMigrants.

Yet having experienced such hardship and survived, Asmaa cannot find a solution to the problem of separation.

For now she will remain at the refugee camp in the Greek city of Ioannina with two of her sons while their brother and father are in Germany.



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