In the two and a half years since Syria's bloody civil war began, an estimated 6.3 million Syrians and citizens of Syrian neighbors have been displaced. On Monday, a photograph surfaced from the conflict that perfectly illustrated the pain and struggle of the millions of broken Syrian families: A four-year-old Syrian boy found alone in the desert by UN personnel, having been separated from his family while they tried to flee the violence in their country. Since the civil war begun, it's estimated that 100,000 have died in the conflict. 11,000 of those were children.
The photograph, which shows the little boy being helped by UN staff in the middle of the desert, comes after Switzerland talks aiming to resolve the Syrian civil war ended without resolution. Secretary of State John Kerry accused Syrian president Bashar al-Assad of "refus[ing] to open up one moment of discussion" as promised, and Geneva peace talks ended without any end to the civil war in sight. And last month, photographs were leaked that appeared to prove that roughly 11,000 Syrians had been tortured, starved, and even killed by al-Assad's brutal regime.
In January, a photograph that appeared to show an orphaned boy sleeping between his parents' graves was Tweeted by the Syrian opposition leader, but it was determined that the photograph was fake. Monday's photo, however, was taken by a UN worker, Andrew Harper, who is committed to Tweeting photographs of the country's refugees, and is very much real.
Fortunately, UN personnel reunited the boy with his parents. Harper Tweeted afterwards: “Marwan was safely reunited w his mother soon after being carried across the #Jordan border.”
Unfortunately, the same can't be said for all the millions of displaced citizens in and around Syria.