The drowned child washed up on a Turkish beach captured in a photograph that went around the world Wednesday was three-year-old Alan Kurdi. He died, along with his five-year-old brother Galib and their mother Rehan, in a desperate attempt to reach Canada.
The Syrian-Kurds from Kobane died along with eight other refugees early Wednesday. The father of the two boys, Abdullah, survived. The father’s family says his only wish now is to return to Kobane with his dead wife and children, bury them, and be buried alongside them.
“I heard the news at five o’clock in this morning,” Tima Kurdi, Abdullah’s sister, said Wednesday.
She learned of the drowning through a telephone call from Ghuson Kurdi, the wife of another brother, Mohammad. “She had got a call from Abdullah, and all he said was, my wife and two boys are dead.”
Tima, a Vancouver hairdresser who emigrated to Canada more than 20 years ago, said Abdullah and Rehan Kurdi and their two boys were the subject of a “G5” privately sponsored refugee application that the ministry of citizenship and immigration rejected in June, owing to the complexities involved in refugee applications from Turkey.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander could not be reached for comment, but Port Moody – Coquitlam NDP MP Fin Donnelly said he’d hand-delivered the Kurdis’ file to Alexander earlier this year.