Mar 7, 2021 - World

Pope Francis meets father of drowned Syrian refugee during Iraq trip

Photo by Vatican Pool/Vatican Media via Getty Images
Pope Francis meets Abdullah Kurdi at Erbil's Franso Hariri Stadium on March 07, 2021 in Erbil, Iraq. Photo: Vatican Pool/Vatican Media via Getty Images

Pope Francis on Sunday met the father of Alan Kurdi, a Syrian boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach in 2015.

Why it matters: Kurdi's image has been recognized around the world as a symbol depicting the plight of Syrian refugees on their journey to Europe.

Driving the news: While on the first-ever papal trip to Iraq, the pope met Abdullah Kurdi in the Kurdish city of Erbil, where "the pontiff preached for an end to conflict and sectarian violence," Reuters writes.

  • “The pope spent a long time with him (Kurdi) and with the help of an interpreter was able to listen to the pain of a father for the loss of his family,” the Vatican said in a statement.
  • Kurdi thanked the Pope for his compassion for “all those migrants who seek understanding, peace and security, leaving their country at the risk of their lives.”

In photos: Pope Francis spreads message of peace on first trip to Iraq

Go deeper