The child's lifeless body lies face down in the surf, as a police officer looks on, helpless.
The scene is captured in an image taken by a Turkish news agency, which shows a young child -- believed to be a Syrian refugee -- who drowned attempting to make the crossing from Turkey to Greece. His body washed ashore on the beach in Bodrum, a Turkish resort town.
According to Reuters, Turkish media reported that the boy was 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, a child from a Kurdish-dominated region in northern Syria. His 5-year-old brother also reportedly died on the same boat.
The influx of refugees from the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia into Europe in recent months has sparked a political crisis in the bloc, as states where most refugees arrive on their journey to Europe have argued that they are shouldering more of the burden than they can handle.
As increasingly tough measures are being taken in some countries -- Hungary is in the midst of constructing a border fence to try and stem the tide of migrants -- the picture of the dead child has sparked outcry on social media, where the picture has been trending under the hashtag #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik, which translates from Turkish as “humanity washed ashore.”
#KıyıyaVuranİnsanlık Today we get a picture of the daily nightmare. I see is my son at that age. So hard not to cry at my desk.
— Damian Wallace (@damianwallace) September 2, 2015
— Yuvan A. Beejadhur (@YuvanBeejadhur) September 3, 2015
— Eric Noël (@EricGNoel1) September 2, 2015
People are complaining about that image of a dead refugee child. Maybe they should be complaining about the actual dead child.
— Neil McGuiggan (@neilmcguiggan) September 2, 2015
IBTimes will not publish the pictures of the child, which are graphic and disturbing, here. The U.K.'s Independent newspaper, however, has published the pictures on its website, saying that “among the often glib words about the 'ongoing migrant crisis,' it is all too easy to forget the reality of the desperate situation facing many refugees.”
The scale of the Syrian refugee crisis is hard to grasp: according to the Washington Post, about 11 million people (half of Syria's population) have either died or fled their homes since the Syrian conflict began in 2011. About 4 million of have been forced out of the country.