Drowned Syrian boys’ aunt wants to bring family to Canada 
FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015 file photo, Tima Kurdi is overcome with emotion as she looks at photos of her late nephews Alan and Galib Kurdi, at her home in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada. The body of 3-year-old Syrian, Alan, was found on a Turkish beach after the small rubber boat he, his 5-year old brother Galib and their mother, Rehan, were in capsized during a voyage from Turkey to Greece. The family said the spelling of the boys' names had been changed by Turkish authorities to "Aylan" and "Galip," but are actually spelled as "Alan" and "Galib." Canada has long prided itself for opening its doors wider than any nation to asylum seekers, but the number it welcomes has waned since the Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper took power almost 10 years ago. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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VANCOUVER: Dozens of white balloons drifted over Vancouver’s harbor to honor the young Syrian boys whose deaths at sea sparked worldwide outrage about the refugee crisis.

The boys’ aunt, Tima Kurdi, stood looking at the sky Saturday after she and other mourners let go of the balloons, which had photos attached of 3-year-old Alan and 5-year-old Ghalib.

With tears in her eyes, she tossed a bouquet of yellow flowers into the water.

Kurdi said she hopes to bring the rest of her family to Canada, which she made home more than two decades ago.

Her brother, Abdullah, isn’t ready to leave his Syrian hometown of Kobani, where his sons and wife Rehanna were buried on Friday, Kurdi said. They drowned after piling into an overloaded boat in Turkey headed for the Greek island of Kos. Her brother was among the few survivors.

“One day, I will bring him here. He cannot be by himself there,” Kurdi said.

Family, friends and strangers on Saturday packed a small theater for a memorial service.

Family friend Nissy Koye, left, places flowers beside photographs of late brothers Alan and Ghalib Kurdi and their mother displayed outside the home of their aunt Tima Kurdi, in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. The body of 3-year-old Syrian Alan Kurdi was found on a Turkish beach after the small rubber boat he, his 5-year old brother Ghalib and their mother were in capsized during a desperate voyage from Turkey to Greece. Abdullah Kurdi buried his wife and their two sons in their hometown of Kobani on Friday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

Family friend Nissy Koye, left, places flowers beside photographs of late brothers Alan and Ghalib Kurdi and their mother displayed outside the home of their aunt Tima Kurdi, in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. The body of 3-year-old Syrian Alan Kurdi was found on a Turkish beach after the small rubber boat he, his 5-year old brother Ghalib and their mother were in capsized during a desperate voyage from Turkey to Greece. Abdullah Kurdi buried his wife and their two sons in their hometown of Kobani on Friday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

 

Kurdi tearfully recalled the last phone call Ghalib ever made to his grandfather, the night before he boarded the boat.

“He said to him, ‘Can you bring your truck here and take me? I don’t want to go with them to the water,'” she said.

Kurdi said his grandfather reassured Ghalib not to worry and that he’d be OK. In the background, he could hear Alan laughing. “He never cried, Alan. He always laughed. He doesn’t know how to cry.”

Kurdi has said she wanted to bring both her brothers to Canada, but she applied first for her eldest sibling Mohammed, whose application was rejected because it was incomplete. Kurdi said she doesn’t blame the Canadian government.

Photographs of late Syrian brothers Alan and Ghalib Kurdi and their mother, Rehanna, are displayed as Hoba Said, left, prepares for their memorial service in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015. The body of 3-year-old Alan was found on a Turkish beach after the small rubber boat he, his 5-year-old brother, Ghalib and their mother, Rehanna, were in capsized during a voyage from Turkey to Greece. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

Photographs of late Syrian brothers Alan and Ghalib Kurdi and their mother, Rehanna, are displayed as Hoba Said, left, prepares for their memorial service in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015. The body of 3-year-old Alan was found on a Turkish beach after the small rubber boat he, his 5-year-old brother, Ghalib and their mother, Rehanna, were in capsized during a voyage from Turkey to Greece. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

 

She said the failed application prompted Abdullah to embark on the journey with his family. She said she sent him $5,000 to pay smugglers to take them in a boat.

“I blame myself because my brother does not have money,” she said.

She said the trip was the “only option” left for the family to have a better life in a European country. They were fleeing horrors in Syria, where militants from the Islamic State group had beheaded one of her sister-in-law’s relatives.

Kurdi spoke to both her brothers by phone on Friday. Her grieving brother is proud of his children for becoming a symbol of the dire situation facing Syrian refugees and hopes to see leaders step in to end human smuggling, she said.

Tima Kurdi, center, aunt of late brothers Alan and Ghalib Kurdi, is embraced by a woman during a memorial service for the boys and their mother, Rehanna, as her husband Rocco Logozzo, right, stands by in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 - AP

Tima Kurdi, center, aunt of late brothers Alan and Ghalib Kurdi, is embraced by a woman during a memorial service for the boys and their mother, Rehanna, as her husband Rocco Logozzo, right, stands by in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 – AP

 

“He said, ‘I don’t need anything from this world anymore. What I have is gone.’ But my kids, and my wife, it’s a wake-up call for the world. And hopefully they step in and help others.”

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