Drowned Syrian boy buried in war-torn Kobane

Drowned Syrian boy buried in war-torn Kobane

Drowned Syrian boy buried in war-torn Kobane

AA photo

The father of a Syrian toddler whose drowning shocked the world buried his family on Sept. 4, in the war-torn town they originally fled.

His father, Abdullah Kurdi, who has told how his sons “slipped through my hands” when their boat sank in the Aegean Sea, returned home to the Syrian border town of Kobane to lay them to rest.

“I will have to pay the price for this the rest of my life,” the devastated father told mourners, after carrying his sons’ bodies himself to be buried in Kobane’s Martyrs’ Cemetery, where around 100 people attended the ceremony.

The family were driven out of Kobane in June following fierce fighting between Kurdish militants and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants, and Kurdi called for a “solution to the tragedies” gripping his country.

With the burial of his family, Kurdi abandoned any thought of leaving his homeland again.

“He only wanted to go to Europe for the sake of his children,” said Suleiman Kurdi, an uncle of the grieving father. “Now that they’re dead, he wants to stay here in Kobane next to them.”

He also reportedly rejected citizenship offers from Turkey and Canada.

The haunting image of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach focused the world’s attention on the wave of migration fueled by war and deprivation, Reuters reported.

The bodies of the two boys and their mother 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 Suruç and crossed into Kobane. Two Turkish politicians, Sezgin Tanrıkulu and Aylin Nazlı Aka, accompanied Abdullah Kurdi to Kobane. Journalists and well-wishers were stopped at a checkpoint some 3 kilometers from the border.

Scores of casually dressed mourners clustered around as the bodies were laid in the dry, bare earth of the Martyrs Cemetery. Clouds of dust rose as dirt was shoveled over the graves.

Some graves in the cemetery were haphazardly marked out with borders of concrete blocks.

The route between Bodrum in Turkey and Greece’s Kos, just a few kilometers 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.

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

In a police statement later leaked to the Doğan News Agency, Kurdi gave a different account, denying that a smuggler was aboard. However, smugglers often instruct migrants that if caught they should deny their presence.

Canada has denied a report that it received a refugee application for Kurdi’s family.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada said Sept. 3 that it received an application for Kurdi’s brother, Mohammed Kurdi, but said it was incomplete and didn’t meet regulatory requirements for proof of refugee status recognition. The agency said there was no application on behalf of Abdullah Kurdi’s family.