‘I want the whole world to see’: Father of drowned boys hopes tragedy will bring change

ANKARA, Turkey — The father of a three-year-old boy who washed up dead on a Turkish beach said he wants ‘the whole to see’ to see the image of his so

, 3, was found on a Turkish beach in sneakers, blue shorts and a red shirt after the small rubber boat he and his family were in capsized in a desperate voyage from Turkey to Greece.

Mehmet Can Meral / Associated PressMehmet Can Meral / Associated PressAbdullah Kurdi, 40, father of Syrian boys Alan, 3, and Galib, 5, who were washed up drowned on a beach near Turkish resort of Bodrum on Wednesday, waits for the delivery of their bodies outside a morgue in Mugla, Turkey, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015.

Alan died along with 5-year-old brother Galip and his mother, Rehan, leaving their distraught father, Abdullah, to cope with his sudden, overwhelming loss. He said Thursday he wanted one thing and one thing only: to sit by the graves of his wife and children.

“My kids were the most beautiful children in the world, wonderful. They wake me up every morning to play with them. They are all gone now,” he said.

The family had hoped to end up in to join family in B.C.

Abdullah Kurdi said the overloaded boat flipped over moments after the captain, described as a Turkish man, panicked and abandoned the vessel, leaving Abdullah as the de facto commander of a small boat overmatched by high seas.

I took my wife and my kids in my arms and I realized they were all dead

“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 realized they were all dead,” he said.

The distraught father, who worked as a barber in Syria, added wistfully: “All I want is to be with my children at the moment.”

Kurdi said the boat, headed for the Greek island of Kos, was only at sea for four minutes before the captain abandoned the vessel and its 12 passengers.

The route between Bodrum in Turkey and Kos, just a few miles, is one of the shortest from Turkey to the Greek islands, but it remains dangerous. Hundreds of people a day try to cross it despite the well-documented risks.

Kurdi’s brother-in-law, Rocco Logozzo, told The Canadian Press that Abudllah Kurdi told his sister that both boys were wearing lifejackets when the boat capsized but that the protective gear somehow slipped off when the boat flipped.

AFP/Getty ImagesAFP/Getty ImagesA Turkish police officer stands next to a migrant child's dead body off the shores in Bodrum, southern Turkey, on Sept. 2, 2015 after a boat carrying refugees sank while trying to reach the Greek island of Kos. The boy has been identified as Alan Kurdi and his family's refugee application to Canada was rejected.

The plaintive photograph of lifeless Alan Kurdi, seen around the world, has highlighted the plight of desperate migrants risking their lives to try to reach Europe, sparking fresh calls for countries to do more to ease their passage.

In Britain, U.N. refugee agency representative Laura Padoan said publishing the photos may bring a major change in the public’s perception of the crisis.

“I think a lot of people will think about their own families and their own children in relation to those images,” she said. “It is difficult for politicians to turn their backs on those kind of images and the very real tragedy that is happening.”

TwitterTwitterA photo of Alan Kurdi and his older brother, Galib, circulating on social media.

The tide also washed up the bodies of Rehan and Galip on Turkey’s Bodrum peninsula Wednesday. In all, 12 migrants drowned when two boats capsized.

They represent only a small fraction of the uncounted number of would-be refugees who have died at sea in recent months as the conflicts in the Middle East have intensified.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said eight of the 12 drowned migrants were children. Four people were detained Thursday on suspicion of acting as intermediaries in the illegal trafficking, the agency said.

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It was not immediately clear when the family left Kobani or what its movements were in Turkey. Abdullah Kurdi said the family had arrived in Bodrum from Istanbul 15 days ago.

He said he planned to take his family’s remains back to Kobani for burial.

I want the whole world to see…We went through a disaster and I don’t want other people to suffer the same

“I want the whole world to see,” he said. “We went through a disaster and I don’t want other people to suffer the same.”

According to U.N. officials, more than 24,000 people arrived from northern Syria amid fighting between the Islamic State group and Kurdish militants.

Close to 2 million people have fled Syria for Turkey, making the country the biggest host of refugees in the world. The country complains that it is bearing the responsibility mostly on its own.

— with files from Suzan Fraser And Gregory Katz. Katz reported from London. Rob Gillies in Toronto also contributed to this report.

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