Sunday 25 September 2016

Aylan Kurdi's father brings bodies of wife and children home in Kobani in Syria for burial

Published 04/09/2015 | 11:47

Aylan Kurdi (left) and his older brother Galip - the two young boys were among those who drowned off the Bodrum coast
Aylan Kurdi (left) and his older brother Galip - the two young boys were among those who drowned off the Bodrum coast

The Syrian man who survived a capsizing during a desperate voyage from Turkey to Greece has taken the bodies of his wife and two sons back to the Syrian Kurdish region they fled, to bury them in their hometown of Kobani.

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The haunting image of the man's three-year-old son, Aylan Kurdi, washed up on a Turkish beach focused the world's attention on the wave of migration fuelled by war and deprivation.

The boys' father Abdullah Kurdi cries as he leaves a morgue in Mugla, Turkey, where he identified the body of his sons
The boys' father Abdullah Kurdi cries as he leaves a morgue in Mugla, Turkey, where he identified the body of his sons

A convoy of vehicles crossed into Kobani from the Turkish border town of Suruc on Friday.

Politicians from Turkey accompanied Abdullah Kurdi to Kobani. Journalists and well-wishers were stopped at a check-point just over a mile from the border.

Aylan drowned along with his five-year-old brother Galip and his mother, Rehan while trying to reach the island of Kos.

Aylan's body was discovered on a Turkish beach in trainers, blue shorts and a red shirt after the small rubber boat he and his family were in capsized.

The coffins of mother Rehan Kurdi, and Syrian boys Aylan, three, and Galip, five, who were washed up drowned on a beach near the Turkish resort of Bodrum (AP)
The coffins of mother Rehan Kurdi, and Syrian boys Aylan, three, and Galip, five, who were washed up drowned on a beach near the Turkish resort of Bodrum (AP)

They were among 12 migrants who drowned off the coast of Bodrum that day.

The route between Bodrum in Turkey and Kos, just a few miles away, 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.

Alyan and Galip
Alyan and Galip

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

In a police statement later leaked to the Turkish news agency Dogan, he gave a different account, denying that a smuggler was aboard. Smugglers often instruct migrants that if caught they should deny their presence.

Anyone looking for information on the migrant crisis or who wishes to help can contact:

World Vision (01) 498 0800

Irish Refugee Council (01) 7645854

Medecins Sans Frontier (01) 6603337

Irish Red Cross (01) 6424600

Oxfam Ireland (01) 6727662

Concern (01) 4177700

GOAL (01) 2809779

UNICEF Ireland (01) 8783000

Press Association

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