Canada welcomes relatives of drowned Syrian boy
Vancouver, British Columbia — Relatives of a Syrian boy whose lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach, sparking worldwide concern for the refugee crisis, have landed in Canada
Mohammed Kurdi, his wife and their five children arrived in Canada as refugees on Monday, sponsored by Mohammed’s sister Tima Kurdi, who wiped away tears as she greeted her relatives at the Vancouver airport.
Speaking through his sister, who translated from Arabic, Mohammed Kurdi thanked Canadians and the government for making his dream come true.
“I’m happy! Very happy!” he said to a crowd of reporters gathered around the family.
His teenage son Shergo said he was looking forward to going back to school and starting a new life.
Tima and Mohammed’s three-year-old nephew, Alan Kurdi, drowned along with his 5-year-old brother and their mother while crossing the waters between Turkey and Greece in September.
The boy’s father Abdullah Kurdi said the family was trying to get to Canada to join his sister Tima. Abdullah has since declined to come to Canada. He lives in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. Tima said she wished Abdullah was in Canada.
The Kurdis are among 25,000 Syrian refugees the Canadian government has pledged to welcome by the end of February. Immigration Minister John McCallum said last week the government will likely not meet its target of having 10,000 of them on Canadian soil by Jan. 1. The federal website that updates progress listed 2,413 refugees as having arrived in Canada by Dec. 26.
Mohammed Kurdi, his wife and children will all stay with Tima Kurdi and her family for now. The brother and sister are planning to work at Tima Kurdi’s new hair salon in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia.
“Thank you Canadian people. Thank you Prime Minister Trudeau for opening the door and showing the world how everyone should welcome refugees and save lives,” Tima Kurdi said.