by VICE News
The body of three-year-old Alan Kurdi has been laid to rest in the Syrian town of Kobane on Friday, alongside his brother and mother, who also died trying to reach Greece.
The shocking photographs of the drowned Syrian child, washed up on a beach near Bodrum, Turkey, have sparked international outcry this week. The images have reignited the debate as to how to help those fleeing from war and how to solve the European refugee crisis, where thousands have died trying to reach Europe by sea.
The child’s father, Abdullah Kurdi, buried his family in the ‘Martyrs’ Ceremony’ in the predominantly Kurdish town, near the border with Turkey.
Speaking at the border crossing, he called upon neighboring Arab countries to help Syrian refugees. Kurdi said: “What I want now is for Arab states, not the European ones, the Arab states, to see what happened to my children.”
In an interview with the BBC, Kurdi described how he lost his family at sea when the boat they were travelling by capsized: “I tried to steer the boat but another high wave pushed the boat over. That is when it happened,” he said.
“My children were the most beautiful children in the world. Is there anybody in the world for whom their child is not the most precious thing?”
It was initially reported that the Kurdi family was refused entry into Canada, yet an aunt in Vancouver clarified that she had tried to sponsor other relatives first.
Conservative Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed his condolences to the family during a speech on Thursday, and promised to “do more” if re-elected: “We should be doing everything, we are doing everything and and we will do more of everything,” he said.
Yet opposition Liberal leader Justin Trudeau retorted: “You don’t get to suddenly discover compassion in the middle of an election campaign. You either have it or you don’t.”
Other world leaders have also been criticized for not taking in more Syrian refugees, including British Prime Minister David Cameron. He has now vowed to accept “thousands” more people from UN camps bordering Syria.
On Friday, the UN refugee agency announced that Britain will accept 4,000 refugees from Syrian camps.