Drowned refugee Aylan, 3, taken home to Syria for family burial

Updated

Aylan Kurdi, the toddler whose drowning made headlines around the world, was laid to rest alongside his brother and mother in the family’s hometown in war-torn Syria on Friday.

His father, Abdullah, wept as the bodies of three-year-old Aylan, five-year-old Galip and wife Rehan, 35, were buried next to each other in dry, red earth in the predominantly Kurdish city of Kobani in northern Syria.

Dozens of mourners milled around as the three bodies were lowered into graves in bare earth at the Martyrs Cemetery. Clouds swirled as grave-diggers filled in the graves.

After the burial, Abdullah described the moments leading up to his family’s death when large waves rocked the smuggler’s boat they were on en route to Greece.

RELATED: Aylan Kurdi is the Syrian toddler drowned on Bodrum Beach

“I then tried to give breath to my kids and my wife Rehan, God bless their souls, but could not,” he said. “First Galip died, then Aylan, then their mother.”

The burial came two days after a photograph of Aylan’s tiny body, in a bright red T-shirt and dark shorts, face-down on a Turkish beach, went viral and sparking worldwide outrage at the plight of tens of thousands of desperate refugees trying to get to Europe. Abdullah Kurdi survived the sinking.

The three, who were also among 12 refugees who drowned after two boats capsized en route from Turkey to the Greek island of Kos, were flown to the Turkish border with Syria Friday. The coffins were then driven into Syria along with police escort and a handful of Turkish legislators.

Before crossing the border for the burial, Kurdi called on Arab neighboring countries to come to the aid of fleeing Syrians.

“I want from Arab governments — not European countries — to see (what happened to) my children, and because of them to help people,” he said in footage posted online by a local radio station. “My entire family passed away … but what I hope is that they can help who are still in need. Enough with this war.”

The Kurdi family’s tragedy prompted an outcry across Europe over the treatment of tens of thousands of refugees and migrants trying to reach the mainland.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed. This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

Refugee and Syria

Drowned refugee Aylan, 3, taken home to Syria for family burial

Updated