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Two drowned refugee boys buried

By Agencies | China Daily | Updated: 2015-09-05 08:38

 Two drowned refugee boys buried

A man (above) holds a poster with a drawing depicting a drowned Syrian toddler during a demonstration for refugee rights in Istanbul, Turkey, on Thursday. Aylan Kurdi (left), 3, drowned along with his mother and 5-year-old brother as they tried to reach Greece. His distraught father, Abdullah Kurdi (far left), cries as he leaves a morgue after identifying their bodies.  Photos by Reuters

Two Syrian boys who drowned with their mother as they were trying to reach Greece were laid to rest in the Syrian town of Kobani on Friday, a witness said.

A photograph of the body of one of the brothers, 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, appeared in news and social media around the world this week, promping sympathy and outrage at the perceived inaction of developed nations in helping the refugees.

Abdullah Kurdi, their father, wept as the boys' bodies were buried alongside each other in a "Martyrs' Ceremony" in the predominantly Kurdish town of Kobani, near the border with Turkey.

The boys' father, whose application for asylum in Canada had been refused before the family attempted to reach Europe, said on Thursday that he wanted the world to take action, so that the deaths of his children would be the last.

Aylan drowned along with his 5-year-old brother, Galip, his mother, Rehan, and nine others while trying to reach the Greek island of Kos.

Many refugees from war in the Middle East continue to take small boats for the 4-kilometer, nocturnal crossing to Kos from Bodrum in Turkey.

Turkish authorities stopped 57 people from trying to cross to Kos on Thursday night. The coastguard halted three boats carrying 57 Syrians, Afghans and Pakistanis late on Thursday, impounding the vessels and taking the passengers back to Turkey, where they spent the night sleeping under blankets in the yard of the coastguard building.

Those with papers identifying where they came from will be deported, though other than to Syria, while the rest will stay in Turkey, an officer with the coastguard in Bodrum said.

Four suspected Syrian smugglers detained in connection with the deaths of Aylan and his family appeared in handcuffs at a courthouse in Bodrum on Friday.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday that the heartbreaking images of the Syrian toddler were a reminder of the need to stop the boats that are smuggling people.

"The most compassionate thing you can do in the medium and long term is to close down this evil trade," Abbott said.

The Australian government introduced in 2013 a military-led operation to turn back boats carrying asylum-seekers attempting to arrive on the mainland. Under Australia's immigration policy, asylum-seekers who arrive are sent to the Pacific islands of Nauru and Papua New Guinea to be processed and denied resettlement in Australia, even if they are found to be refugees.

Canberra has declared the policy a success, despite criticism from rights groups, and in August marked a year since the last successful boat arrival, adding that 20 vessels carrying 633 asylum-seekers have been turned back since 2013.

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton hit back at a Thursday editorial in The New York Times criticizing Australia's boat policy, saying that at least 1,200 people died trying to reach his nation by boat between 2008 and 2013.

"No responsible government could stand idly by in the face of these repeated tragedies," Dutton said in a statement. "Our policies are lawful. They are safe. And they work. They save lives."

Reuters - AP - AFP


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