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Heartbreaking Photo of Syrian Refugee All Too Real, Photojournalist Confirms

Mar 31, 2015

The photojournalist who captured a striking image of a 4-year-old Syrian refugee holding her hands in the air to surrender has confirmed that the viral image was not staged, and that the expression of fear on the girl's face is all too real.

The image was retweeted more than 11,000 times, according to BBC News, which tracked down the original photographer after questions surfaced about its authenticity.

Osman Sağırlı, a Turkish photojournalist, told the BBC that he was photographing child refugees in the Atmeh refugee camp in Syria last year when the 4-year-old girl in the picture apparently mistook his camera lens for a weapon.

"I realised she was terrified after I took it," Sağırlı told the BBC, "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," he said.

Read more at BBC News.

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Syria in 1940: Crossroads of the Middle East During WWII

A view of Damascus, Syria, 1940.
A view of Damascus, Syria, 1940.Margaret Bourke-White—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
A view of Damascus, Syria, 1940.
Raising the French flag at Aleppo, Syria, 1940.
Women carry water containers on their heads as they lead mules along a road in a desert village near Damascus, Syria, 1940.
Members of the Bedouin "camel cavalry" near Damascus, Syria, 1940.
Street scene, Damascus, Syria, 1940.
View of the downtown area of Aleppo from atop the ramparts of the great citadel built in the 4th century B.C.
View from above Aleppo, Syria, 1940.
Soldiers urge a mule up the steps of the citadel at Aleppo, Syria, 1940.
Scene in Aleppo, Syria, 1940.
Inside the garrison of the French expeditionary force in the great citadel at Aleppo, Syria, 1940.
Street scene, Aleppo, 1940.
A narrow street in downtown Aleppo, Syria, 1940.
A Moroccan soldier of the French expeditionary force holds an officer's Arabian horse inside the great citadel at Aleppo, 1940.
Engineers relax on the grounds of the great citadel, Aleppo, 1940.
French Foreign Legion soldiers at their outpost at Homs, Syria, 1940.
French Foreign Legion soldiers gather around newly erected tents as they set up their outpost near Homs, Syria, 1940.
South of Homs, men of the Tunisian infantry prepare to eat.
Archaeological ruins with modern homes in background, Syria, 1940.
A family walks past the walled town and beehive-shaped homes of Tell Bisse, Syria, 1940.
View of the walled town of Tell Bisse, Syria, 1940.
Syrian children outside the walled town of Tell Bisse, Syria, 1940.
Page spreads, LIFE magazine, May 20, 1940
Page spreads, LIFE magazine, May 20, 1940
Page spreads, LIFE magazine, May 20, 1940
Page spreads, LIFE magazine, May 20, 1940
A view of Damascus, Syria, 1940.
Margaret Bourke-White—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Imag
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