107-year-old Syrian Sabria Khalaf, right, is greeted by a family member as she arrives at the airport in Duesseldorf, Germany. (AP Photo/dpa, Federico Gambarini)

On Monday, following the third anniversary of a civil war that’s claimed more than 100,000 lives, the headlines detailing Syria’s tragic collapse were relentless. “Syria: No end in sight,” the Financial Times said. The New York Times warned: “Three Years of Strife and Cruelty Put Syria in Tailspin.” The Huffington Post mourned: “Syria Crisis: ‘I Feel Like Nobody Cares.'”

What got less notice was a Syrian story of perseverance and courage captured in these photographs.

Seven months ago, 107-year-old Sabria Khalaf fled the violence in Syria with her son, Kenan. The Kurdish pair first traveled to Turkey, then on to Greece. But they wanted to be with the rest of their family in Germany.

For months, they waited. Under immigration rules governing the European Union, refugees have to apply for asylum status in the first member state they reach.

Then serendipity struck.

According to the Associated Press, Munich daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung published a profile on Khalaf. It caught fire. Eventually, German President Joachim Gauck intervened and moved to expedite Khalaf’s immigration paperwork.

The result was Monday’s scene at a Duesseldorf, Germany airport. Khalaf arrived in a wheel chair to find 20 family members — among them her newborn great-great-granddaughter. Today, she’s now one of 10,000 Syrians who have obtained asylum in Germany, which has absorbed more refugees from the war-ravaged country than any European nation.


107-year-old Syrian Sabria Khalaf arrives at the airport in Duesseldorf, Germany. (AP Photo/dpa, Federico Gambarini)

The 107-year-old Syrian Sabria Khalaf arrives at the airport in Duesseldorf, Germany.  EPA/FEDERICO GAMBARINI

107-year-old Syrian Sabria Khalaf, right, is greeted by a family member as she arrives at the airport in Duesseldorf, Germany.  (AP Photo/dpa, Federico Gambarini)

Family members greet 107-year-old Syrian Sabria Khalaf (R) at the airport in Dusseldorf, Germany. EPA/FEDERICO GAMBARINI

Sabria Khalaf (R), 107 years old Syrian refugee, is welcomed by a relative after her arrival at the airport in Duesseldorf, western Germany. AFP PHOTO / DPA / FEDERICO GAMBARINI / GERMANY OUTFEDERICO GAMBARINI/AFP/Getty Images