01/08/2016 15:25 EST | Updated 01/08/2017 00:12 EST

B.C. mayor 'honoured' recipient of emotional first trim by Syrian refugee barber

VANCOUVER — Refugee and barber Mohammed Kurdi gave his first haircut in Canada to the mayor in his community, an honour the politician says symbolizes a fresh start for the family of a drowned Syrian boy.

Coquitlam, B.C., Mayor Richard Stewart was Kurdi's debut customer this week at a salon opened by Tima Kurdi, the aunt of the three-year-old boy whose body washed ashore on a Turkish beach last September.

Stewart says it seemed as though Mohammed Kurdi took comfort in using the electric trimmer and barber scissors, because they were familiar tools while he is still getting accustomed to Canada.

The mayor says he was deeply honoured to receive the trim and that Kurdi was also appreciative, expressing that he wants to work in Canada and not rely on others for help.

Kurdi, his wife and their five children arrived in B.C. in late December sponsored by Tima Kurdi, who has become an unofficial spokeswoman for people fleeing war-torn Syria.

The Canadian government had pledged to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada, although it fell short of its initial plan to welcome 10,000 people by the end of 2015 and instead, nearly 7,000 have arrived so far.

The Canadian Press

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