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The drowned Syrian boy's aunt has a message for Trump: Refugees are 'innocent victims'

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The drowned Syrian boy's aunt has a message for Trump: Refugees are 'innocent victims'

WATCH | When the rest of the world saw a nameless, drowned toddler washed up on a Turkish beach, Tima Kurdi saw her nephew, Alan.  

When I heard this tragic news I just remember that I fall on the floor, and I scream as loud as I could why now, why them, why not me?
Tima Kurdi

The three-year old would become a defining symbol for the refugee crisis -- sparking international outrage over the Syrian war, which began in March 2011.

Alan, his five-year-old brother and mother were among 12 migrants who drowned trying to reach Europe by boat in September 2015. Using money sent from his sister in Canada, the Syrian family had paid smugglers to take them to Greece.

They're among the hundreds of thousands of migrants who make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea each year. In 2016 alone, some 5,000 people drowned, according to the International Organization for Migration.

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Tima Kurdi, who has lived in Canada for the past 23 years as a hairstylist, was thrust into the spotlight after the tragedy. She says she's only been able to bring herself to look at the viral photo of her nephew once since he died.

This ban, it hurt me, and it touched me a lot. It [brought] my memory back to my family when the country closed [its] border.


As a guest of Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Kurdi was in D.C. for President Trump's joint address to Congress in February. 

"Refugees are innocent victim of this war," Kurdi said when asked about the temporary ban on Syrian refugee resettlement included in Trump's executive order on immigration.

I decided to be the voice of my people whose voice will never be heard, and most importantly for my nephew Alan whose voice will never be heard.
Tima Kurdi

Kurdi says Alan's death was her personal wake up call. A few months ago, she launched the Kurdi Foundation -- a charity she says will help refugee children in Kurdistan and around the world. In December, she welcomed the rest of her family, including Alan's father, to Vancouver. 

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