The aunt of the three-year-old boy who’s drowning became a symbol of the Syrian refugee crisis says one of her brothers and his family will touch down in Vancouver by year’s end.
Tima Kurdi says her brother Mohammad, his wife, and five children will be reunited in Frankfurt before flying to YVR on December 28th.
Her brother has been working in Germany since the spring, with the rest of the family in Istanbul.
Kurdi says she broke the news to her sister-in-law yesterday in a bittersweet phone call that evoked the tragic death of her nephews.
“They were just crying, and no words to be honest. Just ‘is it true, is it happening? Finally we’re coming? It took us almost back to that September 2nd when we heard the news, and how emotional it was.”
Mohammad and his family had previously applied to come to Canada as refugees, but had their application rejected because they did not have a specific U.N. document.
Following that rejection, her other brother Abdullah tried to cross from Turkey to Greece in an overcrowded boat with his wife and two children.
The boat capsized and Abudllah’s family drowned. The image of his young son’s lifeless body spread quickly around the world.
Kurdi says she can’t imagine the scene when her brother and his family are reunited – the youngest of whom he hasn’t even met.
“He’s never seen the baby, because the baby was born in early July. So that will be a beautiful moment.”
When they reach the Lower Mainland, she says Mohammad, who is a barber, will join her at a hair salon she’s opening this month.
She says her 14-year-old nephew who has been working 12 hour days in an industrial laundry facility to help the family make ends meet will finally get to be a kid again.
“There is lots of burning from the irons. This is my number one… what I want to tell him when I see him is no more work. You’re going to school.”
But she says it won’t be a complete reunion for the family. She says Allan’s father has chosen to stay behind in the Middle East.