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Drowned Syrian boy's father says he blames Canada for tragedy

Family friend Hoba Said, left, watches as a woman places flowers beneath photographs of late brothers Alan and Ghalib Kurdi and their mother, Rehanna, before a memorial service in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, September 5, 2015. The brothers' aunt lives in the Vancouver area. The body of 3-year-old Syrian Alan Kurdi was found on a Turkish beach after the small rubber boat he, his 5-year old brother, Ghalib, and their mother, Rehanna, were in capsized during a desperate voyage from Turkey to Greece.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
September 10, 2015 - 9:00 PM

The father of a three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach has told a German newspaper that he blames Canadian authorities for the tragedy that also killed his wife and another son.

Abdullah Kurdi told Die Welt that he does not understand why Canada rejected his application for asylum, although Citizenship and Immigration Canada has said it received no such application from the man.

"I wanted to move (to Canada) with my family and with my brother who is currently in Germany," Kurdi told Die Welt in a phone interview. "But they denied us permission and I don't know why."

Citizenship and Immigration received an application for Kurdi's brother, Mohammed, but said it was incomplete and did not meet regulatory requirements for proof of refugee status recognition.

Kurdi's sister, Tima, who lives in Coquitlam, B.C., has said that she only submitted an application for Mohammed. She intended to sponsor him, and subsequently to apply to sponsor Abdullah Kurdi and his young family as well.

But although no official application was made for Abdullah, Tima said his plight was brought to the attention of Immigration Minister Chris Alexander when her local NDP MP handed over a letter to him in the House of Commons earlier this year.

Abdullah Kurdi said he had been working in Turkey for two years when the bomb began to rain down on his hometown of Kobani, where his wife and two sons were still living.

"I brought them to Turkey and that is where my tragedy began," he told Die Welt.

The Kurdi boys — Alan, 3, and five-year-old Ghalib — and their mother were among at least 12 migrants, including five children, who drowned Sept. 2 when two boats carrying them to the Greek island of Kos capsized.

The grieving father said he paid smugglers 4,000 euros for the deadly voyage — money his sister sent to him from Canada.

The heartbreaking photo of a drowned Alan — wearing a bright-red T-shirt and blue shorts — has put a heartbreaking human face to the humanitarian crisis, both globally and in Canada.

In Canada, mayors, premiers and private citizens alike have rallied to the cause and urged the federal government to welcome more Syrian refugees. The crisis has also become one of the dominant issues in the ongoing federal election campaign, with opposition parties pressuring Prime Minister Stephen Harper to expedite the process for refugee resettlement.

After the tragedy, Kurdi returned to Syria to bury his family, saying he no longer wanted to come to Canada. He said although many friends and family are by his side, he feels alone.

"Every morning I go to their graves, I put flowers, I talk to them as if they were still alive."

Kurdi said he hopes his children did not die for nothing.

"Everyone should watch (Alan's photo) because I believe that thanks to this photo my sons were able to help other children of Syria."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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