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107-year-old Syrian, family reunited in Germany

107-year-old Syrian Sabria Khalaf, center, sits on a sofa with members of her family in Holdorf, northern Germany, Monday, March 17, 2014. (AP Photo/dpa, Ingo Wagner)

BERLIN: A 107-year-old woman who fled the conflict in Syria has arrived in Germany to be reunited with her family, including her newborn great-great-granddaughter, officials said Monday.

Sabria Khalaf arrived from Greece, where she had applied for asylum after leaving Syria seven months ago with her son Kenan.

She was greeted by about 20 members of her family, including grandchildren, great-grandchildren and her 33-day-old great-great-granddaughter, the dpa news agency reported.

Under European Union rules refugees have to apply for asylum in the first member state they reach, putting a heavy burden on Mediterranean nations like Greece and Italy.

A spokesman for the Office for Migrants and Refugees, Christoph Sander, said a decision was made to expedite Khalaf's transfer to Germany on humanitarian grounds.

The move followed an article about Khalaf, a member of Syria's Kurdish minority, in Munich daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung earlier this month. The report caught the attention of a lawmaker who urged German President Joachim Gauck to intervene on her behalf and expedite the bureaucratic process, dpa reported.

 

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