Aylan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian boy never knew what peace was. He was born in a war-torn Syria to Abdullah Kurdi and Rehan. His parents, along with his elder brother Galip (5) had been on the move since his birth in 2012 to escape the fighting in the country.

Also read: Drowned toddler's body washes up on Turkish beach

Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach on September 2. Pic/Nilufer Demir/AFP, Dogan News Agency
Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach on September 2. Pic/Nilufer Demir/AFP, Dogan News Agency

Abdullah was a barber in Damascus, and left the city for the safety of his family three years ago. The Kurdis moved from Damascus to Aleppo and then Kobane before making their way into neighbouring Turkey.

Abdullah found a Turkish smuggler who promised to smuggle his family into Greece on his boat. The family of four took their chances and joined a group of 16 refugees who were being smuggled into Greece.

The image spread like lightning through social media and dominated front pages all over Europe, with commentators saying it had rammed home the horrors faced by those fleeing war and conflict in the Middle East. Pic/AFP
The image spread like lightning through social media and dominated front pages all over Europe, with commentators saying it had rammed home the horrors faced by those fleeing war and conflict in the Middle East. Pic/AFP

However, when the boat hit choppy waters, the owner abandoned the raft and the refugees mid-sea. The boat sank drowning 12 of the 16 occupants. Aylan, his brother Galip and mother Rehan were among those who died.

Abdullah, the only member of the family to survive, said, “I was holding my wife’s hand. But my children slipped through my hands. We tried to cling to the boat, but it was deflating. It was dark and everyone was screaming.”

The bodies of three-year-old Aylan and his brother Galip (5) washed ashore a beach in southern Turkey on September 3. The visuals of the boy prompted an outpouring of sympathy across the world.

The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR says more than 2,500 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean so far this year.