It was a tragic image that the world saw on Wednesday evening when the lifeless body of a young boy surfaced on a European shore. The young toddler was one of the 12 Syrians who had drowned while attempting to escape their civil-war-torn country and reach the Greek island of Kos, seeking refuge.
The boy, along with his older brother and parents, was travelling on a overcrowded boat when it capsized, drowning most of the refugees.
The shocking photo of the body of a dark-haired boy, wearing a bright-red T-shirt and shorts, who had washed up on the Bodrum beach in Turkey, soon started circulating in the news. The picture took the world by storm and had went viral with #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik, which is Turkish for “humanity washed ashore”. AFP reports that the boy was later identified as three-year-old Aylan Kurdi.
It was found that the toddler’s older brother Galip (5), along with their mother Rehan, had met with the same fate on that boat.
The family hailed from the northern Syrian town of Kobani, and were trying to reach Canada so as to get away from all the fierce fighting between Islamic State insurgents and Kurdish forces that is going on in Syria for around two years now.
The father of the two toddlers, Abdullah Kurdi, no longer wants to go all the way to Canada and is now planning to head back to Syria.
The Guardian reports that an estimated 2,500 refugees, also believed to be from Syria, landed on the Greek Island of Lesbos on the same day the boy’s body washed ashore in more than 60 dinghies and other “unseaworthy” vessels. A total of around 15,000 refugees are now in Lesbos awaiting passage by cruise ship to Athens’ port of Piraeus before continuing their journey towards Germany.