An Iraqi couple is reportedly alleging that the father of a three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach was the captain of the vessel that capsized killing at least 12 people, including his family.
Reports say Zainab Abbas and Ahmad Hadi, who lost two children in the tragedy, told journalists in Baghdad that after the accident, Abdullah Kurdi begged them not to tell Turkish police that he was in charge of the boat.
Kurdi has said he paid smugglers 4,000 euros for the deadly voyage — the money his sister sent to him from Canada.
But The Wall Street Journal reported that Abbas and Hadi said that prior to the voyage a smuggler they met in Turkey introduced them to Kurdi, saying he was the captain of the vessel and his own wife and children would be aboard.
The couple said that just minutes after departing the Turkish coast, one of Kurdi’s sons started to cry, distracting the father just before the boat bashed into a wave and capsized.
Kurdi, who is back in Syria, denied the Iraqi couple’s allegations, telling The Wall Street Journal that the captain was a Turkish smuggler who jumped into the water and abandoned the boat shortly after the engine stalled.
Kurdi has blamed the Canadian government for the tragedy, saying authorities had denied his application for asylum, although Citizenship and Immigration Canada has said they received no such application.
The Canadian Press