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Saturday, 4 April 2015

The Identity of the Syrian child photographed 'surrendering to camera because she thought it was a gun revealed (Photo)

View image on Twitter

This photo of a Syrian child so scarred by war that she stared into a camera lens believing it was the barrel of a gun and raised her arms in surrender has  been shared around the world.

The fear in the little girl’s eyes as she bit her lip to stop herself crying has caused an outpouring of emotion about the “heart-breaking” image showing how “humanity failed” in the Syrian civil war.

It spread across social media this week after it was tweeted by a photojournalist in Gaza.

Nadia Abu Shaban’s post on 24 March has been shared more than 14,000 times, sparking threads on Reddit and other forums being inundated with thousands of comments.
View image on Twitter

She said the child thought the photographer had “a weapon not a camera” but the lack of further information caused viewers to speculate that the image was fake, posed or taken in an unrelated situation.

But now the man who took the photo has come forward to explain the real context behind it.

“İ realised she was terrified after I took it, and looked at the picture, because she bit her lips and raised her hands. Normally kids run away, hide their faces or smile when they see a camera.”

Osman Sağırlı told the BBC he took the photo in December last year at Atmeh refugee camp, near the Turkish border.

'Now working in Tanzania, he said the child was a four-year-old girl called Hudea who was forced to flee fighting near her home in Hama with her mother and two siblings.

“I was using a telephoto lens and she thought it was a weapon,” Mr Sağırlı recounted.

During his 25 years covering conflict and disasters for the Türkiye newspaper, he has visited many refugee camps and told the BBC that suffering can be most keenly be seen through children because they “reflect the feelings with their innocence”.

The image was first published by Türkiye in January alongside an article on the desperate families fleeing the Syrian war, claiming Hudea’s father was killed by bombing in Hama.

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