Breaking News Emails
A father whose wife and seven kids drowned while fleeing ISIS and Syria’s civil war warned others in his position against making similar attempts to reach Europe.
"I had the most affectionate wife," Ali Alsaho told BBC News in a piece broadcast Thursday. "I took my family out of Syria to escape the killing. Now I have lost my family, my world."
His oldest child was nine, the littlest was just 20 days old, Alsaho said. Only some of the bodies were recovered after waves capsized the boat they were in soon after it left the Turkish coast on its way to Greece.
Alsaho's advice to other refugees trying to escape the horrors of Syria was to stay put.
“Don’t take this risk, don’t go by sea — you will lose your children,” he told the BBC from the port city of Cesme, Turkey. "The smugglers are traitors."
The people traffickers told the family the boat was safe and they didn't need life vests, Alsaho said.
“Don’t come, stay in Syria, however difficult it is,” he added.
Nearly 770,000 asylum-seekers have entered Greece so far this year on their trek toward a better life in Europe — 60 percent of whom said they were Syrian. Nearly all migrants arriving on Greece's eastern Aegean sea islands come after paying smuggling gangs in Turkey for a berth in flimsy, overcrowded boats.
The Alsaho family was among around four million to flee Syria's civil war, which was sparked by pro-democracy protests in early 2011. The conflict spiraled after the government of President Bashar Assad cracked down violently on the demonstrators.