Abdullah Kurdi
Abdullah Kurdi's Christmas message will be broadcast at 3.35pm GMT on Christmas day Reuters

Abdullah Kurdi, the father of dead Syrian refugee child Alan Kurdi, has asked for "a little bit of sympathy" for refugees in a Christmas message. Harrowing images of his three-year-old son pierced the international community's conscience after his lifeless body washed onto Golden Beach near Bodrum, in Turkey. The child died alongside his mother, Rehanna, and five-year-old brother, Ghalib, in an attempt to find safety on the Greek island of Kos.

Speaking for Channel 4's alternative Christmas message, Abdullah Kurdi said: "My message is I'd like the whole world to open its doors to Syrians. If a person shuts a door in someone's face, this is very difficult. When a door is opened they no longer feel humiliated. At this time of year I would like to ask you all to think about the pain of fathers, mothers and children who are seeking peace and security.

"We ask just for a little bit of sympathy from you. We Syrians leave our country due to war. We all are afraid for our children, for our honour. There are barrel bombs, explosions and also Daesh [Isis]. We have hundreds of thousands of problems," he continued.

More than 250,000 people have been killed in the brutal conflict in Syria which erupted in 2011, while four million people have fled from the war-torn nation. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), over one million migrants and refugees have crossed into Europe illegally by land and sea in 2015. Around 3,700 people have either died or gone missing at sea.

Following the death of his children, Kurdi returned to Kobane in Syria to lay his sons to rest. He now lives in Erbil, Iraq, where he aspires to start a charity project and run a school and hospital for Syrian Kurds.

"I want to help children because they know nothing about life except for laughing and playing. That's all they know. So it's a problem for children if we don't look after them and take care of them," Kurdi said.

He ends his Christmas message expressing hope that "next year the war will end in Syria and peace will reign all over the world". His message will air at 3:35pm GMT on Channel 4 on Christmas day.