Family of Syrian boy found dead on Turkish beach was trying to get to Canada with help of family in Vancouver

    1 of 3 2 of 3

      A photograph of a three-year-old boy named Alan Kurdi is appearing on the front pages of newspapers around the world today (September 3).

      The boy's body washed ashore on a beach in Turkey Wednesday. He was identified by Turkish press shortly after and his origins were traced to the Syrian town of Kobane.

      The photograph has since come to symbolize the plight of hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled violence in the Middle East and made or died attempting dangerous trips by sea to Europe. The boy and his family were reportedly at sea on their way to the Greek island of Kos when their boat sank.

      According to the Ottawa Citizen, they had attempted to get to Canada with the help of an aunt who lives in the Vancouver suburb of Coquitlam.

      Former Straight contributor Terry Glavin reported the family had previously filed a sponsored-refugee application. But the process was complicated by bureaucratic hurdles at the United Nations and in Turkey. Their attempt was formally denied by Canadian authorities in June. (Update: According to CBC News, the Government of Canada claims it had not received a formal application from the Kurdi family but did reject an application filed on behalf of Alan's uncle, Mohammed.)

      “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," the Vancouver woman named Tima Kurdi told the Citizen. "I was even paying rent for them in Turkey, but it is horrible the way they treat Syrians there."

      Two Syrian boys named Alan and Ghalib Kurdi died on September 2, 2015, when their boat sank off the coast of Turkey.

      Fin Donnelly, NDP MP New Westminster—Coquitlam, reportedly "hand delivered" the family's application to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander. Donnelly told the Citizen that Alexander said he would look into it.

      The young boy's five-year-old brother, Ghalib, and mother, Rehan, also died trying to make the journey to Europe. Their father, Abdullah, survived. He has said he now wishes to take his family home for burial in Kobane.

      Update (September 3, 2015): Trudeau and Mulcair react to news dead Syrian boy was trying to get to Canada with help of family in Vancouver

      Follow Travis Lupick on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.



      sandra gagnon

      Sep 2, 2015 at 11:23pm

      Soo sad. Someone has to answer to this. That poor baby.
      My heart goes out to the dad and husband. Now he's going back to bring wife and kids home, to barry them. :-(


      Sep 3, 2015 at 7:45am

      The muslims. Now killing other muslims and making them leave their own countries. Why are the Syrians not looking for help from the other rich muslim countries like Qatar, Dubai, or Saudi Arabia?

      Vanman West

      Sep 3, 2015 at 9:39am

      Getting on a boat to Turkey seems like a round about way to get to Canada, but maybe that's just me.

      That "artistic interpretation" is insulting and not-productive to the story. The original picture is much more powerful and meaningful.


      Sep 3, 2015 at 9:53am

      This little boy would be alive if Harper wasn't PM. Failing to get Harper out of office has real consequences.


      Sep 3, 2015 at 10:03am

      So tragic and heart breaking to see innocent people and their children die.

      We must do more for this Humanitarian crisis.

      Canada only allows some 2500 per year to get visas to come to Canada.

      We can easily absorb 10 times that number.

      Instead the Government doles out billions in Corporate Welfare, 100's of Millions on air strikes.

      When it comes to Humanitarian Aid this Governments Heart & Budgets are empty.


      Sep 3, 2015 at 11:17am

      If the West didn't keep meddling in the Middle East, much of this tragedy would not happen.

      Tara Sundberg

      Sep 3, 2015 at 11:30am

      Our government is a bunch of LIARS!

      "In 2013, Canada accepted 1,063 Syrian refugees. The Conservatives insisted that refugees be prioritized based on religious or ethnic grounds, a policy that many have called discriminatory. The government failed to meet their commitment to accept 1,300 refugees in 2014. In January 2015, Alexander promised that Canada would accept 3,300 Syrian refugees per year for three years. Between January 1 and June 10, 2014, only 58 private sponsorship applications had been approved."

      The Conservative government would rather give billions in corporate subsidies than expedite legitimate refugees. I'm sure that the majority of Canadians would rather ease the suffering of those fleeing war than send weapons and troops to fight in it.

      My son is the same age as this poor boy who drowned, I just cannot fathom the depth of grief his family must be enduring right now.


      Sep 3, 2015 at 11:34am

      this tragedy is Harper's fault...seriously...our economy cannot absorb 10 times as many refugees as we do much money goes into refugee services that we as tax payers shell out for when we have our own social problems...despite what many socialists think...Canada is not responsible for the problems of the world...nor is it our responsibility to solve those problems..."No One Is Illegal" my ass!!


      Sep 3, 2015 at 11:51am

      Harper is heartless and must take responsibility. As Canadians we must more washed up dead children on beaches.


      Sep 3, 2015 at 2:07pm

      Tells us that these people's home countries are not disposable. You can't simply solve the problem by bringing in tens of millions of people and letting their homes go to hell.
      Any child's death is a tragedy of course, but social science tells us that we can't bring in millions of refugees without some devastating conflicts arising out of that.