Two Syrian refugees who escaped IS in wheelchairs reunited with their family in Germany

15 March 2017, 12:31 UTC |

Footage released by Amnesty International today shows the remarkable journey of two refugees, Alan Mohammad (31) and his sister Gyan (28), who travelled from Syria to a refugee camp in Greece to escape the armed group that calls itself Islamic State (IS) and were finally reunited with their father in Germany.

© Amnesty International

Alan and Gyan, who have both suffered from muscular dystrophy since birth, fled their home in Al-Hasakah, in northeastern Syria as IS advanced. On three occasions they tried to cross the border into Turkey but each time were fired on by Turkish police. They then tried a different escape route, crossing the border into Iraq. They stayed there for a year and a half before the approach of IS again forced them to escape. From there their father carried on with one of his daughters, and was able to reach Germany.

As IS advanced in Iraq they crossed the mountains into Turkey strapped onto either side of a horse. Their mother, brother and younger sister trailed behind, pushing their heavy wheelchairs.

From Turkey they paid smugglers to take them on a terrifying journey in an overcrowded boat to the Greek island of Chios. From there they were taken to Ritsona refugee camp on the mainland, where they remain stranded in appalling conditions.

Following their first interview with the Greek Asylum Office, at the end of September 2016, the family were moved from Ritsona camp to a hotel in Khorithos an hour north of Athens with the support of the UN High Commission for Refugees.

Then, a week ago they received the news they had been waiting for. On a visit to the asylum office they were told to go home and pack their bags for a flight to Munich. Last Thursday, in an emotional reunion, they were reunited with their father and sister who they had not seen for over one year, at a centre for refugees outside Hanover.