• Flight from Syria

    Flight from Syria

    Yusra grew up in Damascus, Syria, where she swam on the Syrian national team from an early age. She always dreamt of swimming at the Olympic Games. Civil war broke out in her country when she was just fourteen. Before long, the conflict stopped Yusra from pursuing her passion for swimming. The conflict worsened and Yusra fled the violence together with her elder sister.

    Yusra left Damascus in August 2015 on a flight to Istanbul via Lebanon. From there, she travelled to the Turkish coast and boarded an overcrowded dinghy bound for the Greek island of Lesvos. The engine died fifteen minutes into the journey.

    Yusra was terrified, but determined not to let anyone die, especially as she and her sister could swim. Yusra, her sister and two fellow passengers got into the sea to prevent the boat from capsizing in the waves. After an ordeal lasting three and a half hours, the boat and its precious cargo finally washed up on shore.

    Yusra travelled from Greece through Macedonia and Serbia into Hungary, where she and thousands of others were held up and forced to sleep on the floor of a Budapest train station. Yusra overcame many obstacles and at last made it to Germany, where she was granted asylum and shown a welcome she will never forget.