TORONTO (AP) — The aunt of a Syrian boy whose lifeless body was photographed on a Turkish beach, sparking worldwide outrage at the refugee crisis, said Friday that she hopes her family members will be in Canada by Christmas.
Tima Kurdi said Canada has approved her application to bring her brother Mohammed and his family to Canada, but that security checks are still underway.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada spokesman Remi Lariviere would only confirm that the department has communicated with the Kurdi family.
"We can confirm that the processing of their application is proceeding well," said Lariviere.
Mohammed Kurdi is the uncle of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi, who drowned, along with his 5-year-old brother and their mother, while crossing the treacherous waters from Turkey to Greece. The family was attempting to reach the Greek island of Kos.
Alan Kurdi's father, Abdullah, was one of the few who survived their overloaded boat ride. A photo of Alan Kurdi's washed up body in early September drew international momentum to help Syrian refugees.
Tima Kurdi's original application to bring Mohammed and his family to Canada was rejected. She says the rejection led her other brother — Alan's father, Abdullah — to lose hope he would be allowed into Canada, prompting him to make the dangerous journey.
Canada's Department of Citizenship and Immigration said at the time there was no record of an application received for Abdullah Kurdi and his family, but that a bid for Mohammad Kurdi had been returned as incomplete.
Tima Kurdi said Abdullah is finding solace in helping refugee children in northern Iraq and no longer interested in coming to Canada.
Earlier this week, recently elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his government will resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year and another 15,000 by the end of February.