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What we know about Aylan, the young Syrian boy found drowned on Bodrum beach in Turkey

Aylan's death encapsulated the tragic consequences of a growing migrant crisis.

The image of a Syrian child face down in the sand after his tiny body was washed ashore has sparked international outcry over the failure to find a solution to the migrant crisis.

This is what we know so far about the young boy, who was found washed up on Bodrum beach in Turkey.

Aylan (left) and Galip Kurdi (right) drowned alongside their mother Rehma.

What happened?

  • Toddler Aylan Kurdi's lifeless little body washed ashore on the Ali Hoca Point beach in Bodrum, Turkey, after the boat he was in capsized.
  • He drowned alongside his older brother Galip, five, and his mother Rehma, 35.
  • His father Abdullah, who was rescued barely conscious, was the family's only survivor.
  • The hashtag "KiyiyaVuranInsanlik" - "humanity washed ashore" became the top trending topic on Twitter after an image of Aylan, who was found washed up on a beach near Bodrum, Turkey, was shared online.

Why did the boat capsize?

  • Abdullah Kurdi said the captain of the boat had panicked in high waves and jumped into the sea.
  • He said he started steering the vessel but the high waves flipped over the boat.
  • The boys and their mother were among 11 other refugees, including children, who died.
  • Reports say that the dinghy should have been carrying a maximum of 10 people but 17 were on board.
  • The boat was part of a flotilla of small dinghies boarded by passengers at Akyarlar, the closest point to the Greek Aegean island of Kos.
  • The Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu said police had detained four suspected people smugglers thought to be linked to the tragedy.
  • Anadolu said the four, including at least one Syrian citizen, were detained on a beach on the Bodrum peninsula and would appear in court later on Thursday suspected of acting as intermediaries for illegal crossings.
Father Abdullah Kurdi sobbed as he identified the bodies of his wife and children in a morgue in Turkey. Credit: Reuters

I was holding my wife's hand. My children slipped away from my hands. We tried to hold on to the boat. Everyone was screaming in pitch darkness. I couldn't make my voice heard to my wife and kids.

– Father of the boys, Abdullah Kurdi

Why were they travelling to Europe?

  • The Kurdi family had fled the war-torn Syria town of Kobani which has seen heavy fighting between IS militants and Kurdish forces.
  • They were travelling by dinghy to the Greek island of Kos after staying in Turkey for three years.
  • Mr Kurdi's sister Tima, who has lived in Vancouver for more than 20 years, said that the family wanted to come to Canada.
  • She said that she had wanted to sponsor them to get them a visa but a previous application for another brother had been rejected because they did not have a UN number. She said she could only afford to sponsor her brothers one at a time. "I was even paying rent for them in Turkey, but it is horrible the way they treat Syrians there," she said.
  • Like many Syrian Kurds, the UN did not register the family as refugees and the Turkish government would not grant them exit visas because they did not have passports.
  • Local journalist Mustefa Ebdi said the Kurdi family had been forced to move several times during the Syrian conflict and left the country in 2012. He said the correct family name was Shenu, but that Kurdi had been used in Turkey because of their ethnic background.
Abdullah's sister Tima Kurdi said her relatives wanted to come to Canada. Credit: APTN

They didn't deserve to die, they didn't. They were going for a better life. That shouldn't have happened. It shouldn't have happened to them.

To be honest, I don't want to just blame the Canadian government. I'm blaming the whole world for this.

– Tima Kurdi

What next for Abdullah Kurdi?

  • Abdullah Kurdi said Canadian officials have now offered him citizenship after seeing what happened but he declined.
  • He has made arrangements for the bodies of his wife and children to be returned to Kobani where they will be buried. He said he wants to be buried alongside them. He said he no longer has any desire to go to Europe.
  • The coffins of the boys and their mother were loaded into a van and said to be taken to a local airport where they were going to be flown back to Syria.
Abdullah Kurdi has arranged for the bodies of his sons and his wife to be returned to Kobani. Credit: AP

I just want to see my children for the last time and stay forever with them.

The things that happened to us here, in the country where we took refuge to escape war in our homeland, we want the whole world to see this.

We want the world’s attention on us, so that they can prevent the same from happening to others. Let this be the last.

– Abdullah Kurdi

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