Aylan Kurdi, the toddler whose drowning made headlines around the world, was laid to rest alongside his brother and mother in the family’s hometown in war-torn Syria on Friday.
His father, Abdullah, wept as the bodies of three-year-old Aylan, five-year-old Galip and wife Rehan, 35, were buried next to each other in dry, red earth in the predominantly Kurdish city of Kobani in northern Syria.
Dozens of mourners milled around as the three bodies were lowered into graves in dry, bare earth at the Martyrs Cemetery. Clouds swirled as grave-diggers filled in the graves.
The burial came two days after a photograph of Aylan’s tiny body, in a bright red T-shirt and dark shorts, face-down on a Turkish beach, went viral and sparking worldwide outrage at the plight of tens of thousands of desperate refugees trying to get to Europe. Abdullah Kurdi survived the sinking.
The three, who were also among 12 refugees who drowned after two boats capsized en route from Turkey to the Greek island of Kos, were flown to the Turkish border with Syria Friday. The coffins were then driven into Syria along with police escort and a handful of Turkish legislators.
Before crossing the border for the burial, Kurdi called on Arab neighboring countries to come to the aid of fleeing Syrians.
“I want from Arab governments — not European countries — to see (what happened to) my children, and because of them to help people,” he said in footage posted online by a local radio station.
The Kurdi family’s tragedy prompted an outcry across Europe over the treatment of tens of thousands of refugees and migrants trying to reach the mainland.