World

Syria's centenarian refugees

Published 9:00 AM ET, Wed October 8, 2014
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Among the millions of Syrians that have fled their country's civil war are a select few, worn and weathered by a century of struggle, who are forced to live out their final years in a limbo where there is no country for old men or women.

All a hundred years or older, they are Syria's centenarian refugees.

Andrew McConnell, a photographer for the United Nations Refugee Agency, photographed these oldest refugees in their make-shift shelters in Northern Lebanon.

"Mofleh is 103 and lives in Lebanon with the same family he rescued six years ago. He has tried to return to Syria twice." - UNHCR
Andrew McConnell/UNHCR
"Dagha, 101, used to mend clothes as she listened to the shells falling in Syria from her family's shelter in northern Lebanon. Now she is partially paralysed." - UNHCR Andrew McConnell/UNHCR
"Ghetwan, 100, and his wife, Khaduj have a long marriage. The couple wed 72 years ago, at the height of the Second World War." - UNHCR Andrew McConnell/UNHCR
"In Syria, Khadra lived in a house of her own where she cooked, cleaned, and walked up to two kilometers every day. Now she lives in a tented settlement in Lebanon." - UNHCR Andrew McConnell/UNHCR
"'They say that if God loves you, He will let you live a long life. But I wish that He loved me a little less,' says Ahmad, who is 102." - UNHCR Andrew McConnell/UNHCR
"Bahira, 100, was forced to flee to the Lebanese capital, Beirut, last year with her family. She is desperate to return to Syria." - UNHCR Andrew McConnell/UNHCR
"Fatoumeh, 102, was the strongest person in her home village in Syria, before being forced to flee in 2013. Today, as a refugee in Lebanon, she is very ill." - UNHCR Andrew McConnell/UNHCR
"A lot has changed in the 45 years since Hamda, 106, was last in Lebanon. Her husband has passed away, she has lost her eyesight, and now she is a refugee." - UNHCR Andrew McConnell/UNHCR
"Khaldiye, 103, pictured in her son's rented home in northern Lebanon, has outlived all of her siblings. She fled Syria two years ago." - UNHCR Andrew McConnell/UNHCR
"Saada, 100, lies on a little mattress in the home she shares with her son in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. She misses her freedom and her home in Syria." - UNHCR Andrew McConnell/UNHCR
"Saada has experienced a great deal of loss in her 102 years. But surrounded by her family and neighbours in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, she keeps her spirits high." - UNHCR Andrew McConnell/UNHCR
"'I am devastated for my grandchildren and for the children of my country," says Tamam, 104. "Their future is destroyed. I lived my life, but they won't get to live theirs.'" - UNHCR Andrew McConnell/UNHCR
The photographer, Andrew McConnell. Andrew McConnell/UNHCR