Time running out for 111-year-old refugee stranded in Greece

Time running out for 111-year-old refugee stranded in Greece
By Robert Hackwill
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Laila Saleh is officially Greece's oldest refugee, but is unable to travel to Germany to rejoin the rest of her family, who have been granted asylum there.


Laila Saleh from Kobani, Syria is 111 years old. She is the oldest recognized refugee in Greece.

The elderly lady wants to reach Germany in order to see her two granddaughters. Nisrin and Berivan fled Kobani for Europe in 2015 and now live in Germany after being granted asylum.

While she desires to be re united with her granddaughters, her mind travels back to the life she left behind.

"Kobani was very nice. People had a job, people had a normal life. The war destroyed the city, only ruins are left behind. People abandoned the city and try to save their lives and the lives of their children", she says.

However, there is an issue. The rest of the family, (her son Ahmad, his wife Ali, her grandson Khalil, his wife Sawsan and their two children), who came to Greece with Laila Saleh, have not been granted asylum.

She is too old to travel on her own and their case will not be examined before January 2019.

NGO "Solidarity Now" does its best to help to speed up the procedures.

"Our goal is to make it possible, as quickly as possible. This family has to travel to Germany and they should travel all together. We try to highlight the vulnerability of this case, in order to speed up asylum procedures", says the NGO's Press & Event Officer, Valia Savvidou. 

Laila’s granddaughters want to travel to Greece, but can not afford to pay the air ticket. So they wait for their family to come to Germany.

"This journey started from Kobani in Syria, while Germany is the final destination. However, Laila Saleh can not travel on her own. This is why she is asking the Greek authorities to give asylum to all members of her family. For the 111 year-old refugee, this is a race against time, but time is running out" reports euronews' Apostolos Staikos.

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