“I lived in Damascus with my family until 2012. When the war broke out, we decided to move to my hometown of Kobani. In a while, I went for earnings to Turkey, while my wife and two kids remained in Kobani,“ recalls Abdullah Kurdi, once a father of a three-year and five-year-old boys.
When ISIL militants attacked Kobani last year, he urgently took his family to Istanbul. There, they lived in squalor, as his earnings were too low. His elder sister lives in Switzerland, and his elder brother – in Canada. His sister suggested that they move in with her and they eagerly agreed.
“I found a man who smuggles in the refugees. He sent us to Bodrum to meet with another smugger. That man took us to the mountains and said that we would leave from there. He took a $1,200 fee for each of us,” Kurdi says.
“Somewhat near midnight we got into a boat and sailed off. There were 13 people in the boat, together with us."
"In a while, high waves rose. Having noticed it, our guide jumped into water and swam away.”
The waves intensified and one of them overturned our boat. The refugees started shouting in panic.
“I tried to soothe my children, shouted to them not to be afraid, that everything will work out well.”
“I was trying to keep them above water for about half an hour, preventing them from spluttering. But at some point my strength gave out, and they went underwater. When I pulled them out, both were already dead,”
Those of the refugees who could swim could have survived, Kurdi says. But he was in water for three and a half hours, until the coast guard pulled him out to the shore.
“Of course, I realized all the danger of such a voyage, but, having read a large number of happy stories how refugees safely got to Europe I relied on a bit of luck,” he explains.
Kurdi says he took the bodies of his departed relatives and is going to leave for his native Kobani on Friday to bury them there.
“Now there is nothing left in my life apart from the memories and three tombstones,” he says.
“I will stay in Kobani and every day I will come to the grave of my wife and my children."
"My children were everything to me. I loved them more than life. I went on this journey for the sake of their good future in Europe.”
“And now I can’t look at the sea, the terrible memories of that night immediately come back…”
“I beg the world for only one thing – to find a way to stop this catastrophe, to bring an end to the deaths of innocent people who are trying to save their lives and find shelter in a strange land.”
His children died, but there are kids in other families as well and they should not die. The world should stop this tragedy, Kurdi begs.