Syrian boy whose picture shocked world is buried

2015-09-04 13:47
Men load onto a funeral vehicle the coffins of migrants and three-year old Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian boy whose body was washed up on a Turkish beach after a boat carrying refugees sank as it crossed to the Greek island of Kos, at the morgue in Mugla, sou

Men load onto a funeral vehicle the coffins of migrants and three-year old Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian boy whose body was washed up on a Turkish beach after a boat carrying refugees sank as it crossed to the Greek island of Kos, at the morgue in Mugla, sou

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Beirut (dpa) - Alan al-Kurdi, the 3-year-old Kurdish boy whose drowning crystallised outrage over the plight of refugees and migrants trying to reach Europe, was buried Friday in the Syrian border town of Kobane along with his brother and mother.

Residents and town officials attended as Alan, his 5-year-old brother Ghaleb and their mother Rehan, all of whom drowned when their boat capsized off the Turkish coast, were laid to rest.

The boy's father, Abdullah, the only member of the family to survive the incident, told Kurdish Rudaw television that he hoped their story would prompt people to help more refugees.

Abdullah stood weeping during the ceremony, then kneeled and kissed the coffins before they were lowered into the graves, a witness at the scene told dpa.

The funeral convoy crossed into Kobane, a town devastated by a four-month long assault by Islamic State militants last year, from the Turkish border station of Mursitpinar.

Rudaw showed pictures of ambulances and mourners, escorted by Turkish police, travelling in a convoy towards the Syrian border.

Weeping women met the procession as it arrived in the Kurdish town.

Key point

Alan's body washed ashore in Turkey on Wednesday after his family tried to reach Europe via Greek islands in the Aegean, an increasingly common route for Syrian refugees after moves by Greece and Bulgaria to seal off their land borders.

Pictures of the child lying face down in shallow water where he was found by police caused outrage around the world and led to an outpouring of sympathy for Syrian refugees.

Turkish authorities on Thursday arrested four people they say are responsible for the deaths of 12 refugees who tried to reach Europe by boat and perished at sea, including the al-Kurdi brothers and their mother.

Turkey has become a key point of departure for refugees escaping wars in Syria, Afghanistan and Africa and wanting to reach Europe.

Almost a quarter of a million refugees and migrants have arrived in Greece by sea so far this year, according to figures from the International Organisation for Migration.

More than a third of them are from Syria, with over 30 000 Afghan nationals also arriving. The vast majority of them seek to travel onwards to Germany, Sweden and other northern European states.

The short sea route to Greece has claimed over 100 lives this year, while more than 2 500 people have been lost on the longer and more dangerous route from the Libyan coast to Italy and Malta, the IOM says.

At least 116 649 refugees and migrants have arrived in Italy by sea this year. The largest group, over 25 000, are Eritreans fleeing a harsh dictatorship that imposes indefinite military service. Most of the remainder are from other African countries.

Read more on:    syria  |  migrants

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