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Aylan Kurdi's father brings bodies of wife and children home for burial

Published 04/09/2015

Mourners carry a coffin during the burial of Rehan Kurdi and her sons Aylan, 3, and Galip, 5, after they drowned during a desperate voyage from Turkey to Greece, in their hometown of Kobani, the Syrian Kurdish region they fled, on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. The haunting image of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, washed up on Turkish beach focused the world's attention on the wave of migration fueled by war and deprivation. Their boat capsized while trying to reach the island of Kos. (AP Photo via AP video)
Mourners carry a coffin during the burial of Rehan Kurdi and her sons Aylan, 3, and Galip, 5, after they drowned during a desperate voyage from Turkey to Greece, in their hometown of Kobani, the Syrian Kurdish region they fled, on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. The haunting image of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, washed up on Turkish beach focused the world's attention on the wave of migration fueled by war and deprivation. Their boat capsized while trying to reach the island of Kos. (AP Photo via AP video)
Abdullah Kurdi, 40, father of Syrian boys Aylan, 3, and Galip, 5, who were washed up drowned on a beach near Turkish resort of Bodrum on Wednesday, cries as he waits for the delivery of their bodies outside a morgue in Mugla, Turkey, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015.(AP Photo/Mehmet Can Meral)
Abdullah Kurdi, the Syrian man who survived a capsizing during a desperate voyage from Turkey to Greece, speaks to reporters from a graveyard after burying his wife and two sons in their hometown of Kobani, the Syrian Kurdish region they fled, on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. The haunting image of the man's 3-year-old son, Aylan Kurdi, washed up on Turkish beach focused the world's attention on the wave of migration fueled by war and deprivation. Aylan drowned along with his 5-year-old brother Galip and his mother, Rehan while trying to reach the island of Kos. (AP Photo via AP video)
Coffins of migrants and of Aylan Kurdi (also know as Aylan Shenu), a three-year-old boy whose drowning off Turkey, are pictured during a funeral ceremony in Kobane, on September 4, 2015 in Sanliurfa. "Aylan Shenu, his brother, and his mother were buried today in Kobane in front of a large crowd. Everyone was very sad and crying," said local journalist Mustefa Ebdi, who attended the funeral service. AFP PHOTO / STRINGERSTR/AFP/Getty Images
The coffins of mother Rehan Kurdi, and Syrian boys Aylan, three, and Galip, five, who were washed up drowned on a beach near the Turkish resort of Bodrum (AP)
Abdullah Kurdi, 40, father of Syrian boys Aylan, 3, and Galip, 5, who were washed up drowned on a beach near Turkish resort of Bodrum on Wednesday, cries as he waits for the delivery of their bodies outside a morgue in Mugla, Turkey, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015.(AP Photo/Mehmet Can Meral)

The Syrian man who survived a capsizing during a desperate voyage from Turkey to Greece has taken the bodies of his wife and two sons back to the Syrian Kurdish region they fled, to bury them in their hometown of Kobani.

The haunting image of the man's three-year-old son, Aylan Kurdi, washed up on a Turkish beach focused the world's attention on the wave of migration fuelled by war and deprivation.

A convoy of vehicles crossed into Kobani from the Turkish border town of Suruc on Friday.

Politicians from Turkey accompanied Abdullah Kurdi to Kobani. Journalists and well-wishers were stopped at a check-point just over a mile from the border.

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

Aylan's body was discovered on a Turkish beach in trainers, blue shorts and a red shirt after the small rubber boat he and his family were in capsized.

They were among 12 migrants who drowned off the coast of Bodrum that day.

The route between Bodrum in Turkey and Kos, just a few miles away, is one of the shortest from Turkey to the Greek islands, but it remains dangerous. Hundreds of people a day try to cross it despite the well-documented risks.

Mr Abdullah said the overloaded boat flipped over moments after the captain, described as a Turkish man, panicked and abandoned the vessel, leaving Mr Abdullah as the de facto commander of a small boat in high seas.

In a police statement later leaked to the Turkish news agency Dogan, he gave a different account, denying that a smuggler was aboard. Smugglers often instruct migrants that if caught they should deny their presence.

Abdullah Kurdi, father of three-year old Aylan Kurdi, waits at the morgue in Mugla, southern Turkey, on September 3, 2015, after a boat carrying refugees sank trying to reach the Greek island of Kos. AFP/Getty Images
Abdullah Kurdi, father of three-year old Aylan Kurdi, waits at the morgue in Mugla, southern Turkey, on September 3, 2015, after a boat carrying refugees sank trying to reach the Greek island of Kos. AFP/Getty Images

With the burial, Mr Abdullah abandoned any plans of leaving his homeland again.

"He only wanted to go to Europe for the sake of his children," said Suleiman Kurdi, an uncle of the grieving father. "Now that they're dead, he wants to stay here in Kobani next to them."

Scores of casually dressed mourners clustered around as the bodies were laid in the dry, bare earth of the Martyrs Cemetery. Clouds of dust rose as dirt was shovelled over the graves.

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