“All I want is to be with my children’, says father of Syrian dead boys

Abdullah Kurdi (C) poses with his sons Aylan (L) and Galip (R) in an undated photo provided by the Kurdi family.  REUTERS/Kurdi family/Handout via Reuters
Abdullah Kurdi (C) poses with his sons Aylan (L) and Galip (R) in an undated photo provided by the Kurdi family. REUTERS/Kurdi family/Handout via Reuters

He is one among many, far too many. But the plight of one boy, washed up like a piece of debris on a Turkish beach, has focused the world’s attention on a wave of war-and-deprivation-fuelled migration unmatched since World War II.

Aylan Kurdi, 3, was found on a Turkish beach in sneakers, blue shorts and a red T-shirt after the small rubber boat he and his family were in capsized in a desperate voyage from Turkey to Greece.

Aylan died along with 5-year-old brother Galip and his mother, Rehan, leaving their distraught father, Abdullah, to cope with his sudden, overwhelming loss. He said on Thursday he wanted one thing and one thing only: to sit by the graves of his wife and children.

“My kids were the most beautiful children in the world, wonderful. They wake me up every morning to play with them. They are all gone now,” he said.

Abdullah Kurdi’s sister said that the family had been turned down an entry request by Canada, even though they had close relatives there offering financial backing and shelter.

Tima Kurdi of Vancouver said the family had embarked on the perilous boat journey after a bid for legal entry to Canada was rejected.

“They didn’t deserve to die, they didn’t. They were going for a better life. That shouldn’t have happened. It shouldn’t have happened to them,” the aunt of the drowned toddlers, Tima Kurdi, told reporters in Vancouver, breaking down in tears.

“To be honest I don’t want to just blame the Canadian government. I’m blaming the whole world,” she added.

However, Canada denied it received a refugee application from the family, but that it did receive an application for Abdullah Kurdi’s brother, Mohammed, which was rejected because it was incomplete and didn’t meet regulatory requirements for proof of refugee status recognition, Citizenship and Immigration Canada said.

‘I realised they were all dead’

Abdullah Kurdi said the overloaded boat flipped over moments after the captain, described as a Turkish man, panicked and abandoned the vessel, leaving Abdullah as the de facto commander of a small boat overmatched by high seas.

“I took over and started steering. The waves were so high and the boat flipped. I took my wife and my kids in my arms and I realised they were all dead,” he said.

The distraught father, who worked as a barber in Syria, added wistfully: “All I want is to be with my children at the moment.”

Abdullah Kurdi said the boat, headed for the Greek island of Kos, was only at sea for four minutes before the captain abandoned the vessel and its 12 passengers.

The route between Bodrum in Turkey and Kos, just a few miles, is one of the shortest from Turkey to the Greek islands, but it remains dangerous. Hundreds of people a day try to cross it despite the well-documented risks.

Tima Kurdi’s husband, Rocco Logozzo, told The Canadian Press that Abudllah Kurdi told his sister that both boys were wearing lifejackets when the boat capsized but that the protective gear slipped off when the boat flipped.

He said the family had enough money and room in his home to have provided for their relatives in Syria but hadn’t been able to do so because of a system that was designed to fail.

The family lost all hope when the application was denied in June and made the “bad” choice to try to get to Europe by boat, he said. It was not clear if Logozzo was referring to the bid made by Abdullah Kurdi’s brother, Mohammed.

Canadian lawmaker Fin Donnelly, however, said that he had submitted a bid on behalf of the Kurdi family as they sought to flee the Syrian town of Kobane, which was devastated by battles between Islamic State militants and Kurdish fighters.

Canadian immigration authorities rejected the application, he said, in part because of the family’s lack of exit visas for their departure from Turkey and their lack of internationally recognised refugee status.

Canada’s Immigration Minister Chris Alexander suspended his re-election campaign to travel to Ottawa on Thursday to look into the request. A senior government official said Alexander wanted to determine the facts of the case.

A ‘very real tragedy is happening’

The  young  Syrian boy who drowned in a failed attempt to sail to the Greek island of Kos. Photograph: Reuters
The young Syrian boy who drowned in a failed attempt to sail to the Greek island of Kos. Photograph: Reuters

The plaintive photograph of lifeless Aylan Kurdi, seen around the world, has highlighted the plight of desperate migrants risking their lives to try to reach Europe, sparking fresh calls for countries to do more to ease their passage.

In Britain, UN refugee agency representative Laura Padoan said publishing the photos may bring a major change in the public’s perception of the crisis.

“I think a lot of people will think about their own families and their own children in relation to those images,” she said. “It is difficult for politicians to turn their backs on those kinds of images and the very real tragedy that is happening.”

The tide also washed up the bodies of Rehan and Galip on Turkey’s Bodrum peninsula Wednesday. In all, 12 migrants drowned when two boats capsized.

They represent only a small fraction of the uncounted number of would-be refugees who have died at sea in recent months as the conflicts in the Middle East have intensified.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said eight of the 12 drowned migrants were children. Four people were detained Thursday on suspicion of acting as intermediaries in the illegal trafficking, the agency said.

Two million Syrian refugees in Turkey

It was not immediately clear when the family left Kobane or what its movements were in Turkey. Abdullah Kurdi said the family had arrived in Bodrum from Istanbul 15 days ago.

He said he planned to take his family’s remains back to Kobane for burial.

“I want the whole world to see,” he said. “We went through a disaster and I don’t want other people to suffer the same.”

According to UN officials, more than 24,000 people arrived from northern Syria amid fighting between the Islamic State group and Kurdish militants.

Close to two million people have fled Syria for Turkey, making the country the biggest host of refugees in the world. The country complains that it is bearing the responsibility mostly on its own.

The Milliyet newspaper said in its headline: “Be ashamed, world.”

In Britain, Labour Party legislator Ann Clwyd said constituents have been calling her since the photographs appeared.

“People are horrified,” she told The Associated Press. “People are saying, ‘Please, can we do something, this is disgraceful.’”

British lawmaker Nadhim Zahawi said on Twitter that the picture should “make us all ashamed”.

“I am sorry little angel, RIP,” he wrote.

Buried  in Kobani

The Syrian man who survived a capsizing during a desperate voyage from Turkey to Greece, on Friday buried his wife and two sons in their hometown of Kobani, returning them to the conflict-torn Syrian Kurdish region they had fled.

The three bodies were flown to a city near Turkey’s border with Syria, from where police-protected funeral vehicles made their way to the border town of Suruc and crossed into Kobani. Legislators from Turkey accompanied Abdullah Kurdi to Kobani. Journalists and well-wishers were stopped at a checkpoint some 3 kilometers (2 miles) from the border.





10 responses to ““All I want is to be with my children’, says father of Syrian dead boys”

  1. nagy_michael2 Avatar

    First the blame starts with Assad and nobody else’s. And if Turkey the monkey Erdogan cares about his child and blaming Europe, then he should have talked peace with the Kurds and had they homeland maybe this would not happened. Europe is not responsible for the Arabs and Kurds it’s the duty of the Gulf and every arab country to help ease the plight of the sufferings. instead all they pray 5 times a day and shoot their weapons and declare jihad. what does praying 5 times a day do if it doesn’t bring mercy and giving among our hearts and soul? if praying 5 times do nothing but killing then please stop braying and do something else more useful in your lives. enough of this B.S. sending these refuges across the world while the deserts are empty. or as one egyptian said let me buy an island or two and i will bring these people there. these arab leaders are the same ones in lebanon they are all hypocrites and bandits and power hungry and in the end useless and no good son of a bitches.
    If you want Allah to be merciful as you always mention it in your prayers then start acting on it. it’s time to rise against ISIS, and kick Assad out of Syria and all those who are causing misery to the Syrian and Iraqis and lebanese and palestinians. stop the madness and the killings. build dams and electric plants and plant food and depends on yourself.. I am sure Michael London will like that but i do agree with this point.

    1. I Agree Assad should be the one blamed .
      But i also blame those that are backing Assad such as Russia , Iran and its proxy Hezbollah
      Russia and Iran are the ones responsible for those being killed and made homeless and migrants in Syria.

      This is not a religious issue, it is a humanitarian issue and should be treated as such by the international community .
      Otherwise we are going to see more dead angels .
      RIP little angels

      1. Caribbean Avatar

        and America, Saudi, Qatar, Israel, and Turkey are peace makers in Syria, they supported nonviolent groups like Isis and al Qaida nusra

      2. Intouchable Avatar

        Media photographers are skilled to make money out of tragedies, Aylan Kurdi was not the first victim and will not be the last – thank social media that spread false hopes among the desperate people.

        They walk forward with outstretched “V” sign, as if their problems are over.

        1. 5thDrawer Avatar

          As long as he doesn’t strap on a bomb to join the kids … they didn’t make the bad decisions.

          1. Intouchable Avatar

            It remains to be seen in the near future when we will know who those people hiding their face are.

            Many of those new comers where hiding their face when the cameras and the TV turned their lenses on them….

            The main suspects (Ikea murders) 36-year-old was dismissed with immediate effect from Sweden.
            Just hours before Ikea murders he had been at the meeting – to dismiss the case.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/54e3a8b9289d440953bf910c1937927648acf781d85c6c5a25d2a5f3c5caf5f0.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1053174525ec7b4dce677a97658e277c2be65076d440a7737d9c154a697f2d9b.jpg

      3. France Christians colonial force to be blame….France favor Syria politic to 13% of these brutal Alawites when they go home..how long minority will lead majority in politic?…France are fool..Colonial force created too many borders to prevent Arabs and Muslims to unite..it is easy to eating small cakes next to big one.That why western force created many Arab,s borders after destroy Uthmany Empire. American Christians also to be blame ..who dethrone the strong Saddam are able to stand on sectarians at the area.Weak new Shiites government fail to govern. Christians in France and America need to read their Bible daily..in order to plant morality on them selves.It is only Jews who are the cause of chaos..it is also colonial,s borders made and bogus from these brutal colonial force at the past.At the past it is the whites western force who deserve to control the world in their hand…lead to wars and killing..now the American whites is working to colonize Arabs for Zion Jews…lead killing in Iraq in 2003..and now US game still killing..using it,s proxy armies..the Shiites and the Kurds.Christian,s books can,t schooling these Zion whites..I bet they are lack of morality.They are not Christian anymore..they are turned to Mongols Hulagu Khan who massacred many people and nation at the past only for power.I see no differences on the two.Now their game in Iraq give birth to isis and Sunnis militants..now fight them or these fierce fighters will massacred Israelis in Israel when Assad was gone….the Whites Zion masters.They who are killing these innocent kids.

    2. Michaelinlondon1234 Avatar

      You start of with a lie.. You know this has all been down to mostly lack of family planning. It does not help with the USA, France and UK still trying to invade. Harrari is not helping…
      This I agree with completely…..”stop the madness and the killings. build dams and electric plants and plant food and depends on yourself”.
      You left out on plant strips of forest on the edge of fields…Can be fruit trees.
      It slows down sheet and rill erosion.
      Lebanon today could be selling millions of 2 year old seedlings to the region….
      Plastic tubes at 400mm long 150mm wide make it like sausages from composted trash. Goes from green house for propagation to shade cloth area to 0ne year in the open.Syria can do with millions of trees..Lebanon the same Add some Lebanon cedar in the mix. single or double stacked in 40 foot containers and you can ship region wide.

    3. Intouchable Avatar

      Unbelievable that Syrian man (a refugee) who survived a capsizing during a desperate voyage from Turkey to Greece, returning safely to Kobani.

      For a funeral in Kobani.

  2. Intouchable Avatar

    Migrants threw themselves onto railway lines and scuffled with riot police trying to take them to a reception center in Hungary Thursday, – banging on windows and shouting “No camp, no camp!”

    How in the hell they think they will ever made there way to “Germany” if they are not registered in a reception center in Hungary?

    Talk about idiots that don’t know what is best for them!

    I wonder why the young Syrian men do not go back and start fighting Syria’s enemies?

    They should be ashamed to take the easy way – they betray their own country, and expect us to have respect for them when they come to us as cowards.

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