Drowned Syrian toddler's family reunited in Canada

Story highlights

  • Members of the Kurdi family have arrived in Canada as refugees
  • Alan Kurdi's image captured the world's attention when he drowned off the Turkish coast

(CNN)Relatives of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi, the toddler who tragically drowned off the Turkish coast earlier this year, have arrived safely in Canada as refugees.

There were emotional scenes at Vancouver airport as Alan's aunt Tima Kurdi greeted her brother -- the boy's uncle -- Mohammad, his wife and their five children.
The Kurdi family came to represent the struggle of many Syrian families when images of Alan's body were published around the world in September.
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    Alan Kurdi drowned when a boat attempting the perilous crossing from Turkey to Greece, capsized. Alan's mother and 5-year old brother also perished in the accident, leaving his father, Abdullah, as the only survivor.
    The powerful, tragic picture of the boy's lifeless corpse lying face down in the waves of a Turkish beach instigated an outpouring of global grief and inspired a wave of international compassion.
    It highlighted the plight of the hundreds of thousands of refugees flooding out of war-torn Syria and drew worldwide attention to what is, according to the International Organization for Migration, the most deadly crossing point in the world.

    Safe passage

    Tima Kurdi is now privately sponsoring her family as refugees in Canada and they are looking forward to a fresh start.
    Alan's father -- Tima's older brother -- has declined the invitation to come to Canada and is now living in Iraq's Kurdistan region, CNN affiliate CBC reports.
    A teary Tima expressed her thanks to the Canadian government and translated her brother Mohammad's gratitude.
    "Thank you... we almost lost hope," he said.
    But while they said they were happy to be reunited, they said what they really wished for was a peaceful future for Syria.