Damascus: This image became the face of the migrant crisis as Europe struggled to cope with the huge influx fleeing war and repression in the Middle East and Africa.
Aylan Shenu’s body washed off the shores in Bodrum, southern Turkey, on September 2, 2015 after a boat carrying refugees sank while reaching the Greek island of Kos. Pic/AFP
Two people found guilty of “refugee smuggling” that lead to the much-publicised case of the drowning of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi and four other refugees were sentenced to four years and two months in prison.
A court in Turkey jailed two Syrian men, Mufawaka Alabash and Asem Alfrhad, for smuggling but acquitted them on charges of negligent homicide.
They had faced up to 35 years in prison had they been convicted of causing the death of five people “through deliberate negligence”.
Aylan, the refugee toddler whose death prompted an outpouring of sympathy from around the world, and his relatives drowned when their boat capsised during a perilous crossing from Turkey to Greece. Images of a rescue worker scooping up his limp body marked a turning point in the debate over how to handle the surge of people fleeing to Europe.
The boy and his family were trying to reach relatives in Vancouver. Alan’s mother and five-year old brother also died in the accident. They were buried in Kobani, the Syrian city they had left behind to escape the daily barrage of bombs. His father, Abdullah Kurdi, was the only survivor. Other relatives, including an aunt and uncle, made it to Canada as refugees. The boy’s family was among throngs of desperate men and women who are fleeing in overcrowded, sometimes deadly journeys by land and sea. Many have children in tow.
Number of migrant refugee arrivals via the Mediterranean
People have died making the journey this year