Syrian father makes harrowing Christmas message

Abdullah Kurdi (Reuters)
Abdullah Kurdi (Reuters)

This time tomorrow the Queen's Christmas message will be televised, but today has seen a very different version.

Abdullah Kurdi, a Syrian refugee, lost his family, including his three year-old son Aylan. Pictures of the boy's lifeless body on a beach came to symbolise the wider tragedy and went viral around world. Now, Mr Kurdi is pleading for charity and peace.

Can there have been a more moving, a more powerful image than the photograph of the tiny lifeless body of Aylan Kurdi being carried from the sea?

The world came to know the story of Aylin and his five-year-old brother Galip and how their father took a desperate chance to get them away from Syria's bloody civil war.

That gamble ended with him burying both boys and his wife after their overcrowded boat capsized agonisingly close to the European shores.

Abdullah Kurdi has a Christmas message for Europe's leaders; one he hopes could save other Syrian children from the fate of his sons.

"If a person shuts a door in someone's face, this is very difficult. When a door is opened they no longer feel humiliated," he says, "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. We ask just for a little bit of sympathy from you."

Earlier this week Europe passed the milestone of more than a million refugees and migrants arriving on its shores.

Half of those are Syrians who risked crossing the Mediterranean from Turkey to Greece in their flimsy boats - a journey that has claimed 3700 this year alone.

Today more distressing images emerged from Syria. Patients hospitalised in Damascus are said to be the victims of a chemical attack in Moadimiya. One more reason it seems to flee the country.

Abdullah Kurdi the man who lost his young family ends his Christmas message with a wish that seems no nearer to being granted.

"I wish you a very happy new year. Hopefully next year the war will end in Syria and peace will reign all over the world," he says.

ITV