Heartbreaking photos of drowned Syrian toddler show human tragedy of refugee crisis


Heartbreaking images have emerged of a young Syrian boy lying face-down on a beach in Turkey after drowning on his way to Greece.

  • Warning: This report contains images that some may find distressing

The refugee crisis engulfing Europe has a shocking new face after photographs emerged of a young Syrian boy lying face-down on a beach in Turkey.

The boy was one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned trying to make it to the Greek island of Kos.

One of the photographs shows the boy, wearing a red t-shirt and shorts, lying face-down on the shore with his hands by his side.

Another shows a rescue worked carrying his lifeless body to land.

The images have been widely circulated online, with many tweeting the hashtag #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik (humanity washed ashore).

Turkish media identified the boy as 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, whose 5-year-old brother died on the same boat. Media reports said he was from the north Syrian town of Kobani near the Turkish border, scene of heavy fighting between Islamic State insurgents and Kurdish regional forces a few months ago.

The two boats, carrying a total of 23 people, had set off separately from the Akyarlar area of the Bodrum peninsula, a senior Turkish naval official said.

The confirmed dead included five children and one woman. Seven people were rescued and two reached the shore in life jackets. The official said hopes were fading of saving the two people still missing.

The army said its search and rescue teams had saved hundreds of migrants in the seas between Turkey and Greek islands over the last few days.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch