The refugee crisis in Europe and the ongoing devastation in Syria gained worldwide attention in September when photos emerged showing a drowned Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, lying facedown on the shores of Bodrum, Turkey. Alan's father is now asking the world to do what it can to help his fellow refugees.
"I'd like the whole world to open its doors to Syrians," Abdullah Kurdi told the U.K.'s Channel 4 News in a statement broadcasted on Christmas.
Kurdi was a barber in Kobani, Syria, before he and his family fled to Turkey to escape "barrel bombs, explosions and also Daesh" -- another name for the militant group that calls itself the Islamic State.
"We boarded the boat to go to Greece aiming to go to Germany or Sweden," Kurdi told Channel 4. "We were in the sea for four or five minutes when the boat capsized and what happened, happened."
Kurdi lost his wife and two sons that day. He later told HuffPost Arabi that he'd been unable to afford flotation devices for his family.
"At this time of year I would like to ask you all to think about the pain of fathers, mothers and children who are seeking peace and security," Kurdi told Channel 4.
"We ask just for a little bit of sympathy from you," he went on. "Hopefully next year the war will end in Syria and peace will reign all over the world."
Kurdi now lives in Erbil, Iraq. He told Channel 4 that he wants to found a charity that would open a hospital and a school for Syrian Kurds.
"I want to help children because they know nothing about life except for laughing and playing," he said. "That’s all they know. So it's a problem for children if we don't look after them and take care of them."
More than 1 million refugees have made their way to Europe this year, the International Organization for Migration announced this week. About half of them came from Syria. Alan, who was 3 years old when he died, was one of more than 3,600 refugees in 2015 who drowned trying to reach the shores of Europe.
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