Syrian teen in Germany reunites with family after years apart


Thursday 26 July 2018 | 7:30 PM Damascus Time

family reunificationsyrian refugeesGermanySyrian war

  • Syrian teen in Germany reunites with family after years apart

    Baladi - UNHCR

    Terrified that he would be recruited into the army, he fled his home in Syria when he was just 15 years old. Saying farewell to his family – including his four-year-old sister Anmar who was crying and begging him not to go – left him feeling more alone than ever.

    “I had to go,” says Numeir. “Saying goodbye was terrible. Anmar begged me not to go, saying ‘big brother, don’t go’. But I had no choice.”

    Numeir travelled through Turkey, Greece and the Balkans, before finally reaching an uncle in Germany. By the time he arrived, in 2015, he was 16 and thousands of miles from his family.

    As a child, Numeir was taken into custody by the authorities and eventually ended up in a hostel in Lensahn, a small town located in the northern most tip of Germany. It has less than 5,000 inhabitants and is just a few minutes by car from the Baltic Sea.  

    UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, helped Numeir with the process of family reunification. His father Ismain, mother Fada and three siblings had fled to Turkey, then to Greece, before finally hearing that their family reunification application had been approved.


    One Thursday in May, the five prepared to land at Hamburg’s Fuhlsbüttel Airport.

    Many people in the arrivals hall were waiting for that flight. But nobody seemed as excited as Numeir. Had the plane landed safely? Would everything work out on arrival? Suddenly his family were there and Numeir could embrace his mother once more.

    Fada says it was just like the first time she held her first-born in her arms 18 years ago. “It was exactly like that, like the first time,” she says, happily.

    Numeir lifted his little sister up and showed her the lake behind the house. “It’s so green,” Anmar exclaimed. “And above all, Numeir is here!”

    “It is great to see such a happy family,” says Dominik Bartsch, UNHCR’s Representative in Germany. “And this is why family unification is so important. For years, Numeir was sick with worry about his beloved ones. Now the whole family can rebuild their lives here in Germany and their fears have disappeared.”

    Source: The UN Refugee Agency.

    family reunificationsyrian refugeesGermanySyrian war