BBC News

Alan Kurdi death: A Syrian Kurdish family forced to flee

 Abdullah Kurdi lost both his sons, Alan and Ghalib, in the waters off Turkey

Abdullah Kurdi lost both his sons, Alan and Ghalib, in the waters off Turkey

The drowned boy who washed up on a Turkish beach on Wednesday, whose picture cut through the refugee debate in an instant, was three-year-old Alan Kurdi from Kobane in Syria.

Alan set out early that morning from Turkey for the Greek island of Kos with his father Abdullah, mother Rehanna, and five-year-old brother Ghalib. A few hours later, Abdullah was back on dry land and his wife and sons were dead.

The Kurdi family wanted to reach Canada to reunite with Abdullah’s sister Teema.

The family joined a group of refugees aboard two boats setting out from the Turkish resort town of Bodrum. Of the 23 people in the group, 14 are believed to have died.

It was, tragically, not a high number in a summer scarred by mass deaths in the Mediterranean, but the images that emerged set the incident apart. Having floated back to Turkish shores, Alan was pictured lying face down in the sand, his body terribly small, dressed in a red shirt, blue shorts and velcro shoes. In another picture he was seen cradled by the guard who carried him away.

Migrant crisis: Greek ferry brings 2,500 to Piraeus port

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A Greek government-chartered ferry has arrived at Piraeus port near Athens, after picking up almost 2,500 migrants from islands near the Turkish coast.

The migrants, most of them Syrian refugees, boarded the Eleftherios Venizelos car ferry in Kos, Kalymnos, Leros and Lesvos in the past few days.

The influx of migrants in Greece has increased dramatically in the past month to around 50,000, officials say.

Most have headed north to Macedonia and on to wealthier European countries.

The EU’s border agency Frontex said on Wednesday that a record 107,000 migrants had arrived on Europe’s borders in July alone. Some 44,000 migrants have travelled through Macedonia in the past two months, reports say.

Germany said on Wednesday that it expected 800,000 refugees to arrive this year, four times the number who came in 2014.

Greece has become the main transit point for migrants into the European Union in the past few months, with UN officials estimating that almost 160,000 have arrived on its shores since January.

Yemen Houthi rebel leader says situation critical

Houthi rebels have set up checkpoints in parts of the capital Sanaa

Houthi rebels have set up checkpoints in parts of the capital Sanaa

The leader of Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen has said that the country is at a critical and defining moment.

In a televised address, Abdel Malek al-Houthi accused President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and other leaders of putting their interests ahead of the Yemeni people.

Earlier, Houthi rebels shelled the president’s home in Sanaa and seized control of the presidential palace.

The UN Security Council condemned the attack and voiced support for Mr Hadi.

Yemen, a key US ally in the fight against al-Qaeda in the region, has been beset by unrest for months.

Pegida’s anti-Islam rallies stir fears of German Turks

Pegida rallies have been growing in strength in several German cities since they began last October

Pegida rallies have been growing in strength in several German cities since they began last October

For four months, the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West (Pegida) movement has been sweeping through Germany, causing concern in the Turkish community, the largest immigrant population in Germany. Turkish-German journalist Lamiya Adilgizi reports.

“A horror film” is how Sirin Manolya Sak, a 29-year-old German-Turkish woman from Berlin, describes the rise of Pegida.

Islamophobia tops the list of reasons why young German Turks are prone to leave their native Germany – the European country with the largest number of immigrants – to go to Turkey, their country of origin.

Many of them have never been to Turkey but have heard about it from their parents, guest workers who preferred not to return to their homeland due to better living conditions in Germany.

Ms Sak says Pegida’s rallies are not surprising as it is not a new issue for her community, which has been exposed to discrimination for years in Germany.

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