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Father of drowned boy says he will return to Syria

Abdullah Kurdi, father of three-year old Aylan Kurdi, waits at a morgue in Mugla, Turkey. REUTERS/Kenan Gurbuz

Father of drowned boy says he will return to Syria

The father of a drowned boy, who was photographed in a haunting image face down on a Turkish beach, says he will return to Syria with the bodies of his wife and two sons.

The image of three-year-old Aylan has come to symbolise the human cost of the growing humanitarian crisis as refugees flee war-torn Syria for western Europe.

Aylan was with his parents Abdullah and Rehan Kurdi and five-year-old brother Galip alongside other refugees on a boat to Greece. The boat was part of a flotilla of dinghies that left from Akyarlar, the closest point to the Greek Aegean island of Kos.

His father Abdullah told AP the captain of the boat had panicked in high waves and jumped into the sea, leaving him in control of the small craft.

“I took over and started steering. The waves were so high and the boat flipped. I took my wife and my kids in my arms and I realised they were all dead,” he told AP.

The three were among at least 12 who died on the boat.

Kurdi is a Kurdish Syrian had been living in Turkey for three years before deciding his family would make the journey to western Europe. He now says he wants to return to Syria to bury his family in his home town of Kobani.

 “I just want to see my children for the last time and stay forever with them,” he said.

Abdullah Kurdi, father of three-year old Aylan Kurdi, cries as he leaves a morgue in Mugla, Turkey, September 3, 2015. The family of Aylan, a Syrian toddler whose body washed up on a Turkish beach, had been trying to emigrate to Canada after fleeing the war-torn town of Kobani, one of their relatives told a Canadian newspaper on Thursday. A photograph of the tiny body of three-year old Aylan Kurdi washed up in the Aegean resort of Bodrum swept social media on Wednesday, spawning sympathy and outrage at the perceived inaction of developed nations in helping refugees. His 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.  REUTERS/Murad Sezer      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX1QX8Z

Abdullah Kurdi, father of three-year old Aylan Kurdi, cries as he leaves a morgue in Mugla, Turkey. REUTERS/Murad Sezer 

The family had been trying to emigrate to Canada.

In an interview with Canadian media Abdullah Kurdi’s sister Tima, a hairdresser in Vancouver who emigrated 20 years ago, said the family’s application had been rejected.

“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.”

The Turkish coastguard told AFP it had rescued more than 42,000 people in the Aegean Sea in the first five months of 2015, and 2,160 in the past week. More than 100 were pulled from the sea on Wednesday night alone.

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