Relatives of the young refugee boys Aylan and Galip Kurdi whose bodies were found washed up on the shores of the Mediterranean have spoken for the first time,.
The three-year-old Aylan and his five-year-old brother Galip drowned when the overcrowded dinghy filled with a total of 17 refugees fleeing the war in Syria capsized shortly into the crossing to the Greek island of Kos, the Daily Mail reports says. The Kurdi family had fled their hometown of Kobane in the wake of the ISIS attack.
Their mother, 35-year-old Rehan, died with them at sea as well. Only father Abdullah survived, making it back to the shore. A total of 13 passengers are believed to have died. The boys’ aunt has spoken to the press for the tragedy.
Aylan and Galip, who were not wearing life jackets, could not survive when the boat overturned in the dead of night, some 30 minutes after it set off from the holiday resort of Bodrum in Turkey. Their dead bodies, still clad in tiny T-shirts and shorts, washed up on Ali Hoca Point Beach and boatmen alerted the authorities.
The boys’ aunt, Teema Kurdi, spoke of the moment a heartbroken Abdullah Kurdi telephoned relatives to tell them about the tragedy. She also said that Mr. Kurdi now plans to return to the family’s war-torn hometown in order to lay the boys and their mother to rest.
According to local reports, the boats were part of a flotilla of dinghys that were boarded at an inlet before leaving off Akyarlar – the nearest point from Turkey to the Greek island of Kos.
Another dinghy among the flotilla, which was carrying a further 16 refugees to Kos, also overturned, with eight of the passengers confirmed dead, four missing and four survivors.
The Turkish coastguard confirmed that none of the boats had made it to Kos – all turned back to Bodrum.
The route between Bodrum and Kos is one of the shortest from Turkey to the Greek islands, only about 13 miles. Thousands of refugees and migrants are attempting the perilous sea crossing despite the serious risks.
The dead are among the 2,500 people who have already lost their lives at sea this year while fleeing from war-torn and poor regions trying to reach safety in Europe.