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Pope Francis met with the father of Aylan Kurdi, the boy who drowned in the sea and became a symbol of refugees


It was indicated by a statement from the Vatican. The pontiff has made the reception of refugees one of his major themes of the pontificate.

03/07/2021 4:57 PM

  • Clarí

  • World

Updated 03/07/2021 17:03

Pope Francis met Sunday night in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, with the father of Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian boy who drowned in the Aegean Sea, a tragic symbol

of the 2015 refugee crisis.

Photographs of the body of the three-year-old boy that appeared on a Turkish beach

caused shock

and awareness about refugees from the war in Syria.

"The pope met at length with Abdula Kurdi", who

now lives in Iraqi Kurdistan

, "and was able to hear the pain of a father who lost his family," said a statement from the Vatican, when the pontiff received refugees. one of his major themes of the pontificate.

Aylan Kurdi drowned with his older brother Galip and his mother Rehanna when their inflatable boat capsized in the Aegean.

The family originally from Kobané, northern Syria, wanted to go to Canada.

Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian boy who drowned in the Mediterranean, fleeing with his family from the war in Syria.

AFP photo

Pope Francis concluded his visit to Iraq, the first by a pope in the country's history, on Sunday with a mass in an Erbil stadium.

Since Friday he has been in Baghdad, Mosul or Qaraqosh in the north, an area martyred by jihadists, and he advocated for one of the ancient Christian communities scattered in the world before Ayatollah Ali Sistani, religious reference of the majority of Shiite Muslims.

In one of his speeches, Pope Francis called for "peace" in the Middle East and "in particular in the martyred Syria" where the war that began ten years ago has caused more than 387,000 deaths.

Through an interpreter

, the pope heard the story of Abdula Kurdi and expressed his sympathy for the loss of his family.

Abdullah thanked the pope for his words, the Vatican said.

The Kurdi family decided to emigrate, like many Syrians, in 2015 by sea in a small boat from Turkey bound for Greece.

When the boat sank, Alan Kurdi, one of his brothers and their mother perished.

The image of Alan's body, lying on a Turkish beach, came to symbolize the dangerous trip to Europe and provoked international condemnation.

The father now runs a charity in Erbil.

Aylan turkey Aylan Kurdi refugee crisis in europe child dead on the shores of turkey corpse body

Previously, during his visit to the Christian community of Qaraqosh, in northern Iraq, Pope Francis

asked Iraqi Christians

to forgive the injustices committed against them by Islamic extremists and to rebuild, in a day in which he visited ruins of churches and met with enthusiastic crowds in the historic heart of the local Christian community, which was decimated during the brutal Islamic State regime.

At each of their stops in northern Iraq, what was left of the Christian population turned out joyfully, wearing colorful dresses and jubilant sounds, though intense security prevented Francis from mingling with the crowd as he normally would.

However, the attendees seemed simply happy that they had not been forgotten.

Source: AFP and AP


Look also

Five years after the photo of Aylan Kurdi, they ask not to forget the drama of the Syrian refugees

Photos that make history: the horror debate in the foreground

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2021-03-07

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