Exodus

11-year-old Syrian tearfully recalls the horror of her journey to refuge in Europe

Isra'a sold cigarettes on the street in Izmir, to help fund her family's journey to Europe.

A young Syrian girl has spoken of seeing two other children she was traveling alongside die from the cold, as they made the treacherous journey to seek refuge in Germany. “We found a tent and made a fire,” the 11-year-old said. “And there were two kids who died from the cold.”

In the BBC documentary Exodus, Isra’a is comforted by her father Tarek as she unsuccessfully fights her tears. “Her heart is very kind,” he said. “She loves everyone. She wants everyone to live safely and peacefully. She doesn’t want people to experience her loss.”

“Here is the problem,” he said, as he moved to put his arms around her. “She is seeing things that she can’t cope with.

“I was trying to stop it getting to her on the road. But you can’t avoid it. It’s a heavy burden. And she shares the burden.”

Isra’a’s problems began in Aleppo, where their home was destroyed by bombing. In order to fund their journey to Greece, Isra’a wound up selling cigarettes on the street in the Turkish port of Izmir.

Isra’a and her deceased companions are representative of the children who made up 51 percent of the world’s refugees in 2015, according to UNHCR estimates — many separated from their parents, and even traveling alone. Last year there were almost 100,000 asylum requests from unaccompanied children.

Watch Isra’a on her eventful journey:

Read the full story at The Independent.

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