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Refugee crisis: Family of drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi arrives in Canada

Toronto: The uncle of a drowned Syrian toddler whose body pictured on a Turkish beach three months ago prompted worldwide sympathy for the plight of the region's refugees has arrived in Canada with his family.

CBC Television broadcast the arrival of Mohammad Kurdi, his wife and five children in Vancouver, where they had an emotional reunion with his sister, Tima Kurdi.

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Relatives of drowned Syrian boy land in Canada

Relatives of a Syrian boy, whose lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach, sparking worldwide outrage at the refugee crisis, have landed in Canada.

Ms Kurdi, who lives in British Columbia, has sponsored the family's relocation to Canada.

The family chanted "Thank you, Canada" shortly after being reunited.

Tima Kurdi, left, who lives in the Vancouver area, lifts her five-month-old nephew, Sherwan Kurdi, after her brother, ...
Tima Kurdi, left, who lives in the Vancouver area, lifts her five-month-old nephew, Sherwan Kurdi, after her brother, Mohammad Kurdi, and his family, arrive in Canada as refugees. Photo: The Canadian Press/AP

"I am happy, very happy," Mohammad Kurdi told reporters at the city's main airport.

The family came to prominence in September after a photograph of the tiny body of Aylan Kurdi, face down in the surf of a Turkish beach, appeared in newspapers around the world. Aylan was originally reported to be three years old, but some subsequent reports said he was two.

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The image brought international attention to the refugee crisis and sparked outrage at the perceived inaction of developed nations to deal with the issue.

The child's brother and mother were among those who died when two boats capsized as they tried to cross the waters from Turkey to the Greek island of Kos. The children's father, Abdullah, who is Mr Kurdi's brother, survived.

Tima Kurdi, third from left, meets her brother, Mohammad Kurdi, right, and his family, who have escaped conflict in ...
Tima Kurdi, third from left, meets her brother, Mohammad Kurdi, right, and his family, who have escaped conflict in Syria, at Vancouver International Airport. Photo: The Canadian Press/AP

Ms Kurdi said at the time she had tried to sponsor Mohammad to go to Canada but was not successful. She had hoped to sponsor Aylan and his family next.

Former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government came under fire after it emerged the family had wanted to emigrate to Canada. The Conservatives lost the October election to Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party, which pledged to swiftly bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees.

Shergo Kurdi hugs his aunt, Tima Kurdi, as his sisters, Ranim Kurdi, front right, and Haveen Kurdi, run to meet her as ...
Shergo Kurdi hugs his aunt, Tima Kurdi, as his sisters, Ranim Kurdi, front right, and Haveen Kurdi, run to meet her as the family arrives in Vancouver. Photo: The Canadian Press/AP

Ms Kurdi told reporters she was thankful to Mr Trudeau "for opening the door" and showing other countries how do deal with the refugee crisis.

Earlier this month, Mr Trudeau was in Toronto to greet the first Syrian refugees sponsored by the Canadian government.

A paramilitary police officer carries the body of Aylan Kurdi after refugees died when boats capsized near the Turkish ...
A paramilitary police officer carries the body of Aylan Kurdi after refugees died when boats capsized near the Turkish resort of Bodrum in September. Photo: AP

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has welcomed Syrian refugees.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has welcomed Syrian refugees. Photo: AP

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