Family of Syrian boy washed up in Turkish beach to settle in Canada

Alan Kurdi became a symbol for the dangers refugees heading to Europe face when his little body washed up on a Turkish beach. Now, part of the boy’s remaining family is a step closer to a “new life,” Alan’s aunt, Tima Kurdi, told ABC News from her home in Canada.

Alan was not even 3 years old when he drowned alongside his 5-year-old brother, Ghalib, and their mother after falling off an overcrowded boat. They were on their way to the Greek island of Kos, reportedly headed to Canada from Kobani, Syria. Abdullah Kurdi, the boys’ father, had decided to make the journey after allegedly being denied asylum in Canada, where his sister lives.

Back in September, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada noted they had no record of receiving Abdullah Kurdi’s application. The agency said they had received an application for his brother, Mohammad Kurdi, and Mohammad Kurdi’s family, which was returned because “it was incomplete as it did not meet regulatory requirements for proof of refugee status recognition,” the agency said at the time.

A heartbroken Abdullah buried his sons and wife in their homeland as photos of Alan’s body in Turkey caused outrage around the world. Nearly three months later, Canada has approved the asylum applications of Alan’s uncle and six other family members, Tima Kurdi said.

“So far it’s nothing confirmed yet. They’re still going through the process,” Kurdi told ABC News on Monday. She received an email from Immigration Canada saying the applications were approved, but the family is now waiting for medical and security checks to be processed in Turkey and Germany, where the family members are now, she said. “The final decision will be from overseas.”

A spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada would only confirm the department has communicated with the Kurdi family, according to the Associated Press.

“We can confirm that the processing of their application is proceeding well,” Remi Lariviere told the news agency.

Those slated to come include several children, including a 5-month-old baby, and Abdullah’s brother and sister, Kurdi said. They have already gone through the medical checks, and will soon go through security, she added.

Alan’s father, however, is not moving to Canada, she said.

“Abdullah is still not thinking to leave anywhere,” Kurdi said of her brother, adding he now lives in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, where he works with refugees. “He says ‘The poor is my family now, that’s what is going to keep me alive’,” Kurdi said.

But for Tima Kurdi, the news are bittersweet.

“It’s a beautiful feeling to see seven family members, but at the same time we are heartbroken,” she said. “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.”

Kurdi now hopes to have her family with her by Christmas; she hopes they are included in the 10,000 refugees the Canadian government said the country would receive this year.

From Canada, Kurdi asks the world not to send refugees away.

“Don’t be afraid of the Syrian refugees,” she said. “Refugees are in desperate need. Don’t close the door on their faces, open your heart, and open the doors for them. They know no one wants them, they can feel it.”

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