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Mayor John Tory to sponsor family of Syrian refugees, urges others to help

WATCH: Images of Syrian crisis spur action around the world

TORONTO – Mayor John Tory says he is helping to sponsor a family from Syria and is urging Torontonians from all walks of life to give what they can to ease the growing refugee crisis overseas.

“Everyone one of us can be of some help,” said Tory during a press conference Friday morning at city hall. “It’s not going to happen by itself.”

Tory admits not everyone has the money to sponsor a refugee but is encouraging the public to contribute in other ways such as donating time to aid groups.

READ MORE: IN PHOTOS: World mourns drowned Syrian boy Alan Kurdi

The mayor’s pledge comes just days after a photograph circulated around the globe of a three-year-old Syrian boy’s lifeless body found on the shore of a Turkish beach.

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“It broke my heart,” said Tory of the photograph. “These are human beings.”

READ MORE: Refugee crisis: What can you do to help?

Tory said he has been in contact with several other big city mayors across Canada in an effort to create a grass roots movement to help sponsor further Syrian refugees.

Toronto-based group Lifeline Syria hopes to sponsor 1,000 Syrians to the Greater Toronto Area over the next two years.

READ MORE: Toronto organization urging feds to do more for Syrian refugees

The organization on Friday called on the the federal government to step up its assistance efforts by cutting the bureaucratic red tape on refugee recognition and develop new immigration measures to unite Syrians with their family members in Canada.

According to recent Citizenship and Immigration Canada numbers, 2,300 Syrian refugees have resettled in the country since 2013 – approximately 0.05 per cent of the more than 4 million Syrians who have fled the country’s bloody civil war.