Aunt says Aylan’s family was trying to reach Canada
Aylan’s family had been trying to immigrate to Canada after fleeing the war-torn town of Kobani, one of their relatives told a Canadian newspaper on Thursday.
The boy's 5-year-old brother Galip and mother Rehan, 35, also died after their boat capsized while trying to reach the Greek island of Kos. His father, Abdullah, was found semi-conscious and taken to hospital near Bodrum, according to Turkey's Sabah newspaper. "I heard the news at five o'clock this morning," Teema Kurdi, Abdullah's sister and a resident of Vancouver, was quoted as saying by Canada's National Post newspaper. She had heard of the deaths from another of the boy's aunts. "She had got a call from Abdullah, and all he said was, my wife and two boys are dead," Teema said.
The family were among at least 12 presumed Syrian refugees, other young children among them, who died trying to reach Kos after two boats, carrying a total of 23 people, set off from the Akyarlar area of the Bodrum peninsula, a naval official said. Abdullah, his wife and two children had made a privately-sponsored refugee application to the Canadian authorities that was rejected in June because of complications with applications from Turkey, the National Post quoted Teema as saying. "I was trying to sponsor them, and I have my friends and my neighbours who helped me with the bank deposits, but we couldn't get them out, and that is why they went in the boat," she said.
"I was even paying rent for them in Turkey, but it is horrible the way they treat Syrians there." Turkey has won international praise for taking in 2 million refugees since the Syrian civil war began in March 2011, spending $6 billion caring for them and receiving just $400 million in outside aid. But it has warned it is reaching capacity, and thousands are now making the perilous journey by boat from Turkey to Greece in a bid to enter Europe.