Syrian Refugees Carry Beloved Pets Hundreds of Miles

Among the refugees who have survived the treacherous journey from Syria to Greece are at least two dogs and a cat, thanks to their devoted owners.

Seventeen-year-old Aslan Al Hakim traveled about 300 miles from his home in Damascus to the Greek island of Lesvos. In a small carrier, he brought along his puppy, a Husky named Rose.

“I love this dog,” he says in a video interview posted Sept. 19 on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Facebook page. “I need [her].”

He was even able to obtain a pet passport for Rose from the European Union.

Before fleeing Damascus, Al Hakim and his friends stuffed their most treasured belongings into backpacks, along with plenty of food and water for Rose.

Three days after the UNHCR video was posted, Rose and her friends had made their way north to Tovarnik, Croatia, by train, according to the Associated Press. Their ultimate destination is Germany.

“We’ve seen many like him carrying their animals with them on the long journey from Syria, across the Mediterranean Sea and through Europe,” the UNHCR wrote. “When forced to flee home because of war, many people would never dream of leaving their pets behind.”

Another pet who survived the journey is a kitten named Zaytouna (Arabic for “olive”), who was carried by her unidentified family in an inflatable raft across the Mediterranean Sea to Lesbos.

Zaytouna’s family packed few belongings and never considered leaving their beloved pet behind. In photos posted on the Greek news site Protothema, a smiling man is carrying Zaytouna in a sling close to his body.

Last month, 20-year-old Maya Narlband carried her dog, Poopy, from her home in Syria all the way to Hungary. Although Narlbrand has been unable to get a passport, Poopy, like Rose, was issued one from the European Union that allows the dog to freely enter any EU country, Sky News reports.

Perhaps all the viral, heartwarming photos of these fortunate pets will help raise awareness of and more concern for the plight of the migrants.

This year more than 318,000 refugees have fled Syria, according to the UNHCR. About 3,000 of them died or disappeared before arriving in Greece.

“The world has not seen a global humanitarian crisis of this magnitude since the Second World War and with winter approaching in the northern hemisphere, it is only going to get worse,” Mogens Lykketoft, president of the U.N. General Assembly, said during a press conference on Sept. 21.

Earlier this month, President Obama said he wants the U.S. to take in at least 10,000 of these refugees during the next year. However, this week, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the U.S. will increase the number of refugees it takes each year to 100,000 by 2017.

During the next week, world leaders from around the world will meet at a U.N. general assembly to address the refugee crisis and begin peace talks. Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told Reuters this is the largest number of world leaders attending in U.N. history.

Photo credit: YouTube

281 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y6 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y6 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J6 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J6 months ago

thanks for sharing

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renee Poole
ren Poole2 years ago

I never sent that. Someone is using my name> But in this case I dont mind. They are great and caring and the way you treat animals and the less fortunate than you, shows the character of a person.

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renee Poole
ren Poole2 years ago

wonderful. I hope both of them are safe now.TYFS

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Elisabeth H.
Elisabeth H2 years ago

wonderful. I hope both of them are safe now.TYFS

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mari s.
Mari S3 years ago

They did GOOD! === I'm thrilled they all made it with their animals AND very happy they received PAPERS === I love them == Thank you for being the KIND of people you are.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Virginia Abreu de Paula

Giving a stand ovation to Salam...and Rose! Beautiful.

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