Aylan Kurdi's aunt fights to bring family to Canada

Aylan Kurdi's aunt fights to bring family to Canada

The aunt of the drowned Syrian boy whose death sparked global outrage about the plight of refugees in Europe says she still hopes to bring the rest of her family to Canada.

Tima Kurdi was speaking through tears outside her home in Coquitlam, British Columbia.

She said she plans to help her brother, Abdullah, and her other siblings immigrate to the country she made home more than two decades ago.

Abdullah is not ready to leave his Syrian hometown of Kobani, where his sons, three year-old Alan and Galib, five, and wife Rehanna were buried on Friday, she said.

(The family said the spelling of the boys' names had been changed by Turkish authorities to "Aylan" and "Galip," but are actually spelled as "Alan" and "Galib".)

They drowned earlier this week after piling into an overloaded boat in Bodrum, Turkey, headed for the Greek island of Kos. Her brother was among the few survivors.

“We’re all emotionally affected by what happened right now,” Ms Kurdi said, surrounded by framed photos of her nephews. “I’m sure he (will) refuse and he doesn’t want to leave Kobani.”

She added: “But one day, I will bring him here. He cannot be by himself there.”

Read: Exhausted refugees reach Austrian border

Ms Kurdi has previously said she wanted to bring both her brothers to Canada, but she applied first for her eldest sibling Mohammed, whose application was rejected because it was incomplete.

She said Mohammed’s failed application prompted Abdullah to embark on the risky journey with his family. She sent him $5,000 to pay smugglers to take them in a boat.

Asked whether her brother blames himself, Ms Kurdi said no.

“I am the one who should be at blame,” she said. “I blame myself because my brother does not have money. I sent him the money to pay the smuggler. If I didn’t send him the money, those people still (would be) alive.”

She said the trip was the “only option” left for the family to have a better life in a European country, possibly Germany or Sweden.

They were fleeing horrors in Syria, where militants from the Islamic State group had beheaded one of her sister-in-law’s relatives.

Ms Kurdi said her brother had emailed her a photo of the killing but she deleted it because it was too horrific.

Abdullah knew of the dangers, including the risk of smugglers using fake life-jackets, she said.

Photos of Aylan’s lifeless body on a beach in Turkey have put Canada’s refugee policy in the spotlight, though Ms Kurdi said she does not blame the government.

Ms Kurdi spoke to both her brothers by phone on Friday and watched emotional video on CNN of her two young nephews being buried in Kobani.

She said she desperately wished she could be there with her brother to say goodbye.

“Abdullah said to me, ’I don’t want you to come. It’s dangerous,”’ she said, weeping. “I (could) stay there for the rest of my life, sitting beside their grave, feed them, give them water.”

Her grieving brother is proud of his children for becoming a symbol of the dire situation facing Syrian refugees, and hopes to see leaders step in to end human smuggling, Ms Kurdi said.

“He said, ’I don’t need anything from this world anymore. What I have is gone. But my kids, and my wife, it’s a wake-up call for the world. And hopefully they step in and help others.”’

More on this topic

WATCH: Camerawoman sacked after tripping fleeing refugeesWATCH: Camerawoman sacked after tripping fleeing refugees

Hillary Clinton: Global effort needed to help refugeesHillary Clinton: Global effort needed to help refugees

Confusion remains around numbers of refugees expected in Ireland

Angry migrants march on BudapestAngry migrants march on Budapest

More in this Section

Four killed as storms hit US statesFour killed as storms hit US states

New disturbances in Chile as queues for food build upNew disturbances in Chile as queues for food build up

Johnson bids to fast-track Brexit bill through Commons in three daysJohnson bids to fast-track Brexit bill through Commons in three days

Israeli PM Netanyahu gives up on forming new coalitionIsraeli PM Netanyahu gives up on forming new coalition


Lifestyle

Carol O’Callaghan continues her round-up of home interior shops in country towns and the outer reaches of our cities, finding more treasure troves which offer something new and a touch of exclusivityMade in Munster: The best interior shops in country towns

When the Irish Examiner broke the news that an ultra-inquisitive deer photobombed newlyweds at Killarney’s Ladies View the story went viral.Wedding of the Week: Time for Australian celebrations for bride and groom photobombed by deer

At the start of the 10th and final episode of Confronting: OJ Simpson, a series which has been downloaded over five million times since launching in June, host Kim Goldman is in tears, talking to her father about how strong he was through the murder of her brother, his son,Ron Goldman.Podcast Corner: Host relives brother’s death in famous case

Thomas McCarthy pays tribute to his late friend — poet and journalist Seán Dunne'Seán Dunne was one of the most loved people I ever knew'

More From The Irish Examiner