Gazans pay tribute to Syrian toddler Aylan with sand sculpture

Agence France-Presse
Palestinian children put flowers on a sand sculpture depicting Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi, a 3-year-old refugee who drowned off Turkey, on Sept. 7, 2015, on the beach in Gaza City.

Palestinians paid tribute to the tiny boy who drowned while fleeing the Syrian war by building a sand sculpture of him Monday on a beach in the Gaza Strip.

The sculpture measuring a few metres (yards) in length depicts three-year-old Aylan Kurdi in the same position and with red and blue clothing like he wore when his lifeless body was found last week.

Aylan's body was photographed lying face down in the sand near Bodrum, one of Turkey's prime tourist resorts, in a bleak image that rapidly went viral on social media.

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The sand sculpture is located a short distance from where an Israeli strike killed four Gazan children as they played football during last year's 50-day Gaza war.

"When I saw this statue representing Aylan Kurdi, the child drowned while fleeing Syria, I felt a deep sadness and great emotion," said resident Arwa Arbijan.

"It reminded me of the children of the Bakr family who were killed on the Gaza beach during the last war," she told AFP.

Last year on July 16, cousins Ahed Atef Bakr and Zakaria Ahed Bakr, both aged 10, nine-year-old Mohamed Ramez Bakr and 11-year-old Ismail Mohamed Bakr were playing on the beach in Gaza City when they were hit in two separate Israeli air strikes.

Their death was one of the most widely covered and controversial incidents of last year's war.

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