Dad of drowned Syrian boy Alan Kurdi calls for 'sympathy'

Abdullah Kurdi Image copyright PA
Image caption Abdullah Kurdi says Syria has "hundreds of thousands of problems"

The dad of a Syrian boy who drowned while fleeing his war-torn homeland has pleaded with the world for sympathy towards refugees.

Abdullah Kurdi made the comments for Channel 4's alternative Christmas message.

Images of his three-year-old son's dead body washed up on a beach in Turkey in September caused worldwide outrage.

Alan died along with his brother, five, and his mother while trying to reach the Greek island of Kos.

More than four million people have fled Syria since the start of the civil war, and about 250,000 have been killed.

'Peace and security'

"My message is I'd like the whole world to open its doors to Syrians. If a person shuts a door in someone's face, this is very difficult. When a door is opened they no longer feel humiliated," Mr Kurdi said.

"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.

"We Syrians leave our country due to war. We all are afraid for our children, for our honour.

"There are barrel bombs, explosions and also Daesh. We have hundreds of thousands of problems."

Mr Kurdi, who is in his 40s and works as a barber by trade, returned to Kobane in Syria to bury his sons beside their mother.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Alan's father Abdullah survived the sinking

In his message, he adds: "I buried them and thank God. I'm happy I buried them at home.

"I want to help children because they know nothing about life except for laughing and playing. That's all they know. So it's a problem for children if we don't look after them and take care of them."

Mr Kurdi, who currently lives in Erbil, Iraq, plans to start a charity project running a hospital and school for Syrian Kurds.

He closes his message with the hope that "next year the war will end in Syria and peace will reign all over the world".

Mr Kurdi's Christmas message is to be broadcast on Channel 4 on Christmas Day at 15.35 GMT.

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