Thousands mourn 7 Syrian siblings killed in Canada fire

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Halifax Regional Police and Fire Honour Guard move one of the caskets of the Barho family children during a funeral service for the Syrian refugee family who lost seven children in a February 19 house fire in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada February 23, 2019. (REUTERS)
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Halifax area residents react as they gather for a vigil in support of a Syrian refugee family who lost seven children killed in a house fire in the community of Spryfield earlier in the week, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, February 20, 2019. (REUTERS)
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Close to 2000 people listen during a funeral service for a Syrian refugee family who lost seven children in a February 19 house fire in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada February 23, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 24 February 2019

Thousands mourn 7 Syrian siblings killed in Canada fire

  • The Barho family arrived in Canada in 2017, and were among an estimated 40,000 refugees received by the country since 2015

MONTREAL: Around 2,000 mourners attended the funeral on Saturday of seven children from a Syrian refugee family who died earlier this week in a house fire in Halifax, eastern Canada.
Ahmad Barho and siblings Rola, Mohammed, Ola, Hala, Rana and Abdullah — whose ages ranged from four months to 15 years — all perished in the as-yet unexplained blaze at their home on Tuesday.
Their father, Ebraheim Barho, suffered serious burns and remains in a medically induced coma in hospital, according to Canadian media. Their mother, Kawthar Barho, was less seriously injured. She was present at the funeral.
“I’ve attended many funerals but nothing like this, so please bear with me,” said Sheikh Hamza, who spoke at the moving ceremony, struggling to overcome grief.
The Barho family arrived in Canada in 2017, and were among an estimated 40,000 refugees received by the country since 2015.
The funeral, broadcast on several news channels, was carried out according to Muslim tradition.
Due to the number of people attending, it took place not in a mosque but in a cavernous hall on the Halifax waterfront, with all 2,000 seats full and several mourners standing.
“We have all been affected by this tragedy,” said Nova Scotia lieutenant governor Arthur Leblanc.
Member of Parliament Andy Fillmore said authorities were working to bring other members of the Barho family to Canada to support Kawthar Barho.
The tragedy provoked an outpouring of sympathy across Canada, with a fundraiser for the family bringing in nearly half a million Canadian dollars ($380,000) in just a few days.
The seven small white coffins were accompanied by a guard of honor before being transported to a Muslim cemetery near Halifax.


Lukashenko: I need to contact Putin, protests not just threat to Belarus

Updated 52 min 55 sec ago

Lukashenko: I need to contact Putin, protests not just threat to Belarus

  • Mass unrest followed Lukashenko’s re-election victory last week

MINSK: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Saturday he wanted to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin, warning street protests were not just a threat to Belarus.
Mass unrest followed Lukashenko’s re-election victory last week, as tens of thousands of people took to the streets accusing him of rigging the vote. “There is a need to contact Putin so that I can talk to him now, because it is not a threat to just Belarus anymore,” he said, according to state news agency Belta.
“Defending Belarus today is no less than defending our entire space, the union state, and an example to others ... Those who roam the streets, most of them do not understand this.”