Father of dead Syrian boy returns to Kobane to bury family

Kurdi arrives at Turkish border town with funeral caskets

SURUC, Turkey – The father of a three-year-old Syrian boy whose body was washed up on a Turkish beach in an image that shocked the world returned to his hometown Kobane on Friday to bury his family, a French news service’s photographer reported.

Abdullah Kurdi arrived at the Turkish border town of Suruc with the funeral caskets of his son and other family members who also drowned while trying to get to Europe, and headed towards the Syrian town with family members and Turkish security forces.The long convoy was stopped from entering Kobane.

As the heart-breaking image of a drowned refugee boy who washed up on a beach in Turkey ricocheted around the world on social media and those of other suffering children, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Anthony Lake made a powerful plea for action to protect migrant and refugee children.

“It is not enough for the world to be shocked by these images. Shock must be matched by action,” the UNICEF chief said in a statement issued by the agency. Lake advocated that all decisions regarding the child migrant and refugee crisis in Europe be guided by the best interests of the children involved.

The measures be taken to ensure they receive adequate health care, food, emotional support, education, shelter and protection.UNICEF estimates that at least a quarter of the hundreds of thousands of people who have sought refuge in Europe are children, many of whom have fled the conflict in Syria. Some 2,500 people have died or gone missing this year while attempting the crossing to Europe.

– Human nature of migrant crisis –

“Our hearts go out today to the families who have lost children off the coasts, on the shores, and along the roadsides of Europe,” Lake said. “As debates on policies proceed, we must never lose sight of the deeply human nature of this crisis. Nor of its scale,” he added.

“And we should never forget what lies behind so many of the stories of families seeking sanctuary in Europe: terrible conflicts such as that in Syria, which already has forced some two million children to flee their country. Only an end to these conflicts can bring an end to the misery of so many.”

 

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