Drowned Syrian toddler’s coffin heads home

Ankara, Sep 4 (IANS) The coffin of a Syrian toddler whose lifeless body was found on a Turkish beach, is on its way home to Syria, a media report said on Friday.

The image published on Wednesday showed three-year old Aylan Kurdi lying lifeless on a beach in Bodrum’s Akyarlar coast of Turkey’s Mugla province. He was wearing a red t-shirt, dark blue shorts and black shoes, CNN reported.

The image has become the latest symbol of the migrant crisis in Europe.

Aylan’s body arrived in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Friday. From there, it will make its final trip home to Kobani, the Syrian city his family left to escape the daily barrage of bombs.

His funeral is expected to take place over the weekend.

Aylan’s family was among the thousands of migrants making the treacherous journey aboard overcrowded rafts in the murky Mediterranean waters.

Aylan’s brother, Galip, 4, and mother, Rehen, also drowned. Only the children’s father, Abdullah Kurdi, survived. He will accompany the bodies to Kobani.

Abdullah Kurdi says he boarded a small, overcrowded boat in Turkey with 12 people on board. It was manned by two smugglers: a Turk and a Syrian.

As soon as the boat set out, large waves crashed against it. They pounded harder, forcing one smuggler to jump overboard and swim toward the shore. Kurdi said he tried to take control of the boat but it capsized in the rough waters.

“I tried to reach for my wife and children,” he said, adding “I was in the water for 20 minutes. One person after another was dying.”

Kurdi said he was trying to get to Sweden by way of Greece, but described his life as hopeless without his family.

Four Syrians are in custody on suspicion of human trafficking in the deaths.

Aylan’s photo has sparked criticism against Europe for not doing enough to help the migrants escaping Africa and the Middle East.

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