Drowned Syrian Boy’s Family Had Sought Asylum in Canada
The family of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian boy who washed up on the shore of a Turkish resort this week, had been denied asylum in Canada before they decided to risk the seas in a bid to reach Europe.
Along with a dozen other people, including his four-year-old brother, Aylan died when his boat capsized in the Mediterranean, reports CNN. An image of the infant’s lifeless body has gone viral on social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, and has circulated widely in the media.
Canada had denied his family’s application, prompting them to make the decision to hire a human smuggler to get them from Turkey to Greece. “We want the world’s attention on us, so that they can prevent the same from happening to others,” said Abdullah Kurdi, the boy’s father. “Let this be the last.”
The image has focused a spotlight on the ongoing refugee crisis, in which thousands are taking often unsafe boats in order to arrive in the European Union. In addition to others from the Middle East and Africa, many of the refugees are Syrian.
World Powers Fuel Syria’s Civil War: U.N.
Civilians are caught in the crossfire between increasingly radical and sectarian Islamist groups and the government of President Bashar al-Assad, according to U.N. war crimes investigators.
A new U.N. report says that the ongoing civil war is now marked by a “spread of extremism,” reports Reuters. “The war is increasingly driven by international and regional powers, primarily in accordance with their respective geostrategic interests,” it adds, although it didn’t mention which countries it was referring to.
The report goes on to accuse the Syrian government and ISIS of possible war crimes.
U.S. ‘Monitoring’ Increased Russian Involvement in Syria
The U.S. government is “monitoring” reports that Russia has increased its presence in the ongoing Syrian civil war, throughout which it has been a strong supporter of the Assad government.
“We are aware of reports that Russia may have deployed military personnel and aircraft to Syria, and we are monitoring those reports quite closely,” said White House spokesperson Josh Earnest on Thursday, according to Agence France-Presse.
“Any military support to the Assad regime for any purpose, whether it’s in the form of military personnel, aircraft supplies, weapons or funding, is both destabilizing and counterproductive,” the spokesperson continued.
Recent reports – till now unconfirmed by Russia – allege that Russian fighter jets have taken flight in Syria to support pro-Assad forces.
Photo: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaks with Russia’s deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov on December 10, 2015. (Associated Press/SANA)
- The Guardian: Cameron Bows to Pressure to Let in More Syrian Refugees
- BBC: Has One Picture Shifted Our View of Refugees?
- New York Times: In Syria’s Struggle, Memories of the Soviet Union
- New York Times: Let Syrians Settle Detroit