Ali's story

Ali and his children risked death in a rubber dinghy to reach Samos Island. Here, a safer vessel carries them onward to Athens.


Escape to Samos

Hundreds of Syrian refugees make the treacherous journey to Samos Island in Greece. Only some of them find sanctuary.

Ali's story
  • Producer
    Zahra Mackaoui
  • Editor
    Ferruccio Goia
15 July 2014 15 July 2014
Syria Turkey Greece

Most people know Samos Island as an idyllic holiday retreat in Greece. But for Ali, it has become a prison.

A father of three, he escaped Syria with two of his children, fleeing the bombs that devastated his hometown of Raqqa. Money was tight and, without enough to pay smugglers’ fees for his whole family, he was forced to leave his wife and youngest daughter behind. Carrying a heavy heart, he travelled for two days before reaching Turkey.

There, Ali and his two older children boarded a small rubber dinghy and set out for Samos Island. They spent three traumatic hours at sea before finally reaching the shore. Now they are in limbo, unable to return to Syria but still desperately seeking asylum in Sweden. Waiting for their family to be reunited.

“I hope our future will be better,” Ali says. “Although there is nowhere more beautiful than Syria.”