World

Will his death move the world to act?

This heartrending picture of a toddler's lifeless body, washed ashore on a Turkish beach, has hit home in Europe's growing refugee crisis.

The child - identified as three-year-old Aylan Kurdi - is one of 12 Syrian migrants who died when their boats sank trying to reach Greece.

This and other images published on Wednesday of the toddler at one of Turkey's main tourist resorts has once more put a human face on the dangers faced by tens of thousands of desperate people, who risk life and limb to seek a new life in Europe.

Aylan was believed to be travelling with his family on a tiny boat built for four people but which was carrying 15 refugees, believed to be from the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane, who fled to Turkey last year to escape Islamic State extremists.

Of the 12 who died, five were children, AFP reported. Aylan's five-year-old brother Galip and their mother Rehan also died, while 15 people were rescued.

The boys' father, Mr Abdullah Kurdi, survived, reported Canadian newspaper the Ottawa Citizen.

They had hoped to emigrate to Canada, where they have family.

Mr Abdullah said his children "slipped through his hands" as their boat was taking in water.

"I was holding my wife's hand. But my children slipped through my hands," he told Turkey's Dogan news agency of the sinking.

"We tried to cling to the boat, but it was deflating. It was dark and everyone was screaming."

A rescue worker from Bodrum, in Turkey, said the boat sank at around 4am.

The bleak image of Aylan spread like lightning through social media and dominated the front pages of newspapers from Spain to Sweden.

Commentators were unanimous in their view that it had rammed home the horrors faced by those fleeing war and conflict in the Middle East and Africa.

The picture was in Twitter's top world trending topics, circulating with the Turkish hashtag "#KiyiyaVuranInsanlik" ("Humanity washed ashore").

"Tiny victim of a human catastrophe," said Britain's Daily Mail. Italy's La Repubblica tweeted the words: "One photo to silence the world."

POWERFUL IMAGES

"If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?" Britain's Independent said in remarks echoed in newspapers across the continent, which do not usually publish graphic pictures.

Referring to the picture published, The Irish Examiner said: "This is one of those occasions when we feel the gravity of a situation justifies the publication of the photograph you see before you." More than 350,000 people have made the perilous journey from North Africa to Europe this year, many trafficked by people smugglers from war-torn Libya, where nearly 3,000 migrants were rescued close to the coast on Wednesday.

On the same day, the UN Security Council said it was discussing a draft resolution to address the crisis, which diplomats said may allow an EU naval force to seize ships operated by migrant smugglers in international waters.

European leaders called for action. Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy Brey urged the world to act to end the Syrian war.

Ms Nilufer Demir, the photographer who took the image, said: "When I realised there was nothing to do to bring that boy back to life I thought I had to take his picture ... to show the tragedy."

Ms Demir told broadcaster CNN Turk: "I hope the impact this photo has created will help bring a solution."

SyriaRefugeeeuropeToddlerImmigrationDeath