Canada rejected a request to take in a Syrian family that later drowned trying to get to Europe, according to a lawmaker who said the request involved a 3-year-old boy who has been depicted in photographs that has sparked shock around the world.
Reha Kurdi and her sons Alyan and Galip, who fled the Syrian town on Kobani when it was overrun by Islamic State militants, were among 12 migrants who drowned when boats carrying them from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Kos capsized.
Images of Aylan's body washing up on the shore and being taken away by a Turkish officer sparked widespread discussion in the news media and social media on Thursday.
Canadian legislator Fin Donnelly told The Canadian Press that he had submitted a request on behalf on the boys' aunt, Teema Kurdi, who had wanted to bring the family to Canada, but that her request was turned down by Canadian immigration officials. Teema Kurdi, based in the Vancouver area, is the sister of the drowned boys' father Abdullah, who survived.
According to Turkish news media, the family had fled the northern Syrian town of Kobani, which was leveled in battles between Islamic State and Kurdish fighters.
The tides washed up the bodies of Alyan and Galip on the Hoca Burnu beach on the Bodrum peninsula Wednesday, leaving witnesses in tears.
The heartbreaking images, widely viewed on social media and splashed on newspaper front pages, have increased pressure on European leaders to take action to ease the suffering of people involved in a wave of global migration not seen since World War II.