It emerged that members of Alan's extended family, ethnic Kurds from the Syrian city of Kobane, had had an asylum application rejected by authorities in Canada, where Alan's aunt Tima has lived for about two decades. Desperate to make the journey west, Alan's father, Abdullah, decided to risk crossing to Greece on a rubber dinghy. He managed to swim to shore. He would later return to their war-ravaged Syrian home town to bury his wife and children.
But now, after the new government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled plans to fast-track the applications of 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year, at least seven of Alan's relatives have had their asylum requests approved, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. These include Abdullah's brother, Mohammad, his wife and their five children.
According to subsequent reports, the family, which includes a 5-month-old baby, has gone through medical screening and is awaiting its security clearance. The Canadian template, as WorldViews discussed earlier, involves extensive and rigorous checks conducted by a host of agencies abroad before the admitted refugees are flown to either Toronto and Montreal and subsequently resettled in various parts of Canada.
"It's a beautiful feeling to see seven family members, but at the same time we are heartbroken," Tima Kurdi told ABC News. "I'm happy to give seven people a new life, a new beginning, specially for the kids to go to school after three years of not going, but at the same time there's always a part missing because of these nephews we couldn't save."
Among those not admitted is Abdullah, Alan's father, who after losing his family has decided to remain in the region. "I was angry at their government but now ... my hard feelings are gone," he told the CBC, referring to Ottawa's rejection of his relatives' earlier application.
As my colleague Liz Sly reports, Abdullah has now moved to Irbil, capital of the Iraqi region of Kurdistan, where the local government promised to help set up a charity in his deceased toddler son's name that is aimed at helping refugees.
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