His death sparked outrage on social media and put pressure on Canada to deal with the increasingly desperate Syrian refugee crisis. Now Canada has opened its doors to the family of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who drowned when his parents crossed the Mediterranean in September.
On Friday, Kurdi's aunt told media the family's application had been approved, and she hoped they would be in the country by Christmas.
"I'm hoping they will be here soon, by Christmas, and that we will all celebrate Christmas together," Tima Kurdi told The Toronto Star. She told the paper she had mixed feelings, and that Alan and his brother Ghaleb, who also died, were "supposed to be here."
CBC's The Fifth Estate reported Kurdi's family's application had been fast-tracked.
Alan's father, Abdullah, told CBC he's decided not to come to Canada after his two sons and wife died. "I was angry at their government but now ... my hard feelings are gone," he told The Fifth Estate.
A photo of Alan's dead body on a Turkish beach was widely shared on social media, which pressured the then-Conservative government to accept more refugees, and more Canadians to become private sponsors. Since the Paris attacks, however, there has been an uptick in both reports of Islamophobia and anti-refugee sentiments.
Earlier this week, the Canadian government extended its own deadline to bring 25,000 refugees into the country by the end of the year. Instead, 10,000 refugees will be admitted before New Year's Day, and 15,000 more will follow by the end of February. Canada's new Liberal government has budgeted $678 million over six years for the relocation effort.
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