Kirkuki migrant with special needs missing for 12 days

Ahmed Yassin, 24, a resident of Altun Kupri with special needs, is missing for 12 days. Photo by Yassin’s family with KirkukNow.

By KirkukNow

There is no definite news about fate of a young Kirkuki with special needs for the last 12 days as he left to Turkey two months ago in the hope of reaching Europe through illegal immigration.

Ahmed Yassin, 24, a resident of Altun Kupri district of Kirkuk, suffers from a congenital deformity since birth, as his left leg is shorter than the right by 10 centimeters, and after he lost hope of treating his condition in Iraq, he wanted to reach Europe for treatment, according to his father.

Yassin Rasoul, Ahmed's father, who works as a night guard in one of the departments of the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG, told KirkukNow, "We were not able to send him officially abroad for treatment, so he had to choose the path of illegal immigration.

Ahmed went to Turkey at the end of October 2021, and the last time he spoke to his mother was on December 22, when he told her, "Tonight we will sail towards Europe."

"He asked his mother over the phone to pray for him because they are about to start their journey, and since that day we have not heard anything from him," Rasoul sobbed.

He asked his mother on the phone to pray for him because they are about to start their journey

On December 23, a yacht with at least 100 people on board headed from Turkey towards the coast of Italy, but two days after the trip it collided with a rocky mountain near one of the Greek islands, causing the yacht to sink, leaving 10 migrants dead, according to the activist in the field of refugee affairs, Ranj Pishdari.

Three people from a Kirkuk family of six drowned in that accident, but it is not yet clear whether Yassin was on board of that yacht.

Pishdari published the names of eight people who were killed in the accident, but Yassin was not in the list.

This comes in light of reports that a boat carrying 70 migrants from Turkey arrived in Italy on December 26, but no information was available to confirm whether Yassin was on that boat or not.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR estimates that more than 2,500 people have died or gone missing at sea in their attempt to reach Europe from January through November this year.

Dcember incidents come only a month after that in November 27 migrants died in an attempt to cross the English Channel from France to Britain.

Greece remains a key route for migrants and asylum seekers, though arrivals have dropped sharply in recent years, as have deaths at sea, since the peak of Europe’s refugee crisis in 2015 and 2016. 

"According to what some of the people who were with Ahmed on the yacht, he has drowned at sea," Rasoul told KirkukNow.

"I spent everything I had in this world to treat my son. Now there is no sign of my son and we do not know anything about his fate."

"Find my son in any way, tell us about his fate, whether he is alive or dead," Ahmed's father said, pleading with the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG.

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