Istanbul airport blasts stop Yazidi families from making flight to Winnipeg

At least two Yazidi families destined for Winnipeg were kept from boarding planes Tuesday after suicide bombers attacked and killed dozens at Istanbul's Ataturk airport.

41 killed Tuesday after suicide bombers detonate explosives in Ataturk airport

A senior Turkish government official has told The Associated Press all initial indications suggest ISIS is behind the attack at Istanbul's Ataturk airport that has reportedly killed nearly 50 people. (Osman Orsal/Reuters)

At least two Yazidi families destined for Winnipeg were kept from boarding planes Tuesday after suicide bombers attacked and killed dozens at Istanbul's Ataturk airport.

Belle Jarniewski with the Manitoba Multifaith Council said she has been in contact with the two families who have been sponsored to resettle in Manitoba.

"[They] were due to arrive on June 30 and they were actually en route to the airport when the terrorist attack took place," Jarniewski said, adding the families turned back and are staying in a hotel for the time being. "They were very afraid. They were very frightened by these events."

According to the Associated Press, a senior Turkish government official claimed that initial signs suggest ISIS is behind the attacks, which had killed 41 people and injured scores more as of 6 p.m. CT.

Earlier, a Turkish government official erroneously told The Associated Press that 50 people were killed.

The families were just eight hours from take off when the attacks were first reported.

'Everything is very much up in the air'

"We are anxiously awaiting to hear when a new travel time will be set for them.... I hope that that is very, very soon, so we can welcome them to their new home, their home in Winnipeg," Jarniewski said. "Everything is very much up in the air."

Istanbul bombing aftermath

6 years ago
Duration 0:46
Airport blasts leave at least 10 dead, official says

Yazidis have been targeted by ISIS. In 2014, about 40,000 Yazidis were forced to flee a city in northern Iraq after it was captured by ISIS. Thousands of Yazidi people were killed, and many women and girls were sold into slavery.

The families are disappointed they'll have to wait longer to come to Canada, Jarniewski said.

"This was the end of one journey and the beginning of another one," she said.

All flights in and out of the Istanbul airport have been cancelled, which has Jarniewski concerned but grateful the nine members of the two families weren't caught in the blasts. 

"I'm relieved, I'm very relieved that they're safe and my prayers are with all of those who are in harms way of course," Jarniewski said. 

"I'm disappointed we're not going to see them on Thursday afternoon; we've been looking forward to this for so long. But I guess we'll have to wait a little bit longer."

With files from Marjorie Dowhos