The photo of the little Syrian refugee who drowned trying to reach Greece with his family has moved millions who are asking European governments to take action and help those escaping the Middle East.
The civil war in Syria has displaced four million people, according to NPR. Many of those are so desperate that they will do anything to protect their families from the horrors of the conflict. Likewise, three million Iraqis are displaced because of ISIS’ advance in the region.
Whatever the situation, the image of the little Syrian refugee, who drowned when his family tried to find a better life, is all people in Europe are talking about today. But who was the toddler who was found drowned, face down, on a Turkish beach?
The name of the 3-year-old Syrian refugee was Aylan Kurdi, and he was part of a group of 23 people who were trying to reach the Greek island of Kos. The group’s two boats set on the 13-mile journey, but they capsized, killing not only Aylan but his 5-year-old brother, Galip, and the children’s mother, Rehan. The only one to survive the ordeal was the father, Abdullah Kurdi, who is heartbroken.
In an interview with Radio Rozana, an opposition station in Syria, translated in a piece on the Daily Mail, Abdullah shares the horror that cost him his family.
“The Turk (smuggler) jumped into the sea, then a wave came and flipped us over. I grabbed my sons and wife and we held onto the boat.
“We stayed like that for an hour, then the first (son) died and I left him so I can help the other, then the second died, so I left him as well to help his mom and I found her dead… What do I do… I spent three hours waiting for the coast guard to come. The life jackets we were wearing were all fake…
“My wife is my world and I have nothing, by God. I don’t even think of getting married again or having more kids… I am choking, I cannot breathe. They died in my arms.”
According to the reports in the Globe and the Daily Mail, the family of the little Syrian refugee applied for legal immigration to Canada, where Abdullah’s sister lives and works as a hairdresser, the Ottawa Citizen reports.
After their application was denied, the only choice the family had was to get on a boat and pay a smuggler, Human Rights Watch’s emergency director Peter Bouckaert said.
The image of the little Syrian refugee has been shared by millions online, and British Prime Minister David Cameron has now pledged to open their country’s borders to more migrants to help with the humanitarian crisis.
[Image via Twitter]