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Tuesday 7 February 2023 Dublin: 5°C
# Turkey
Police officer who carried drowned Syrian boy speaks of 'indescribable pain'
Images of the man carrying the little boy’s body provoked an outpouring of sympathy for refugees trying to get to Europe.

*Some readers may find an image in this article distressing*

THE TURKISH POLICE officer who found the body of a drowned Syrian toddler washed up on a beach has spoken of his grief at the tragic discovery.

Three-year-old Aylan Kurdi drowned along with his five-year-old brother and his mother when the boat they were on overturned off the Turkish coast.

Tima Kurdi / The Canadian Press via AP Tima Kurdi / The Canadian Press via AP / The Canadian Press via AP

Images of Sergeant Mehmet Ciplak lifting the little boy’s limp body from the water and carrying him off the beach went viral and provoked an outpouring of sympathy for refugees who are trying to reach Europe.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the incident, the police officer told the Dogan news agency that he thought of his own six-year-old son when he saw the toddler.

AP AP

“I told myself ‘God I hope he’s alive’, when I approached toddler Aylan. I craved, searched for a sign of life. However, I couldn’t find any signs. I felt sick at heart,” he said.

I thought of my own son, the moment I’ve faced the lifeless body of toddler Aylan and I immediately put myself in Aylan’s father’s place. This is an indescribable pain.

He said he was not aware that he was being photographed and had no idea the images would travel the globe.

“When I noticed the photos on the papers, media, I was shocked, of course. Once again, I confronted that pain,” he said.

The man said people have been asking him “how I managed to carry such a burden in my arms”.

He hopes now that the action it sparked from European leaders will continue.

Read: Germany commits €6 BILLION to house refugees as France pledges to take 24,000>

Read: Priests being sent forms to identify vacant properties for refugees>

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