A photo tweeted on Feb 17, 2014 by UNHCR representative Andrew Harper with the caption, “UN staff found 4 year-old Marwan crossing desert alone after being separated from family fleeing Syria.” UNHCR/Twitter
In the middle of the vast, rocky desert, a little boy, separated from his family, was found wandering alone, carrying all his worldly possessions in a plastic bag half his height.
Marwan, who is 4, came across blue-vested aid workers from the United Nations, one of whom leaned over to seemingly ask why he was all alone.
The stark photo was captured by Andrew Harper, the United Nations Refugee Agency’s coordinator in Jordan, who posted it on Twitter before it shot around the internet on Monday.
Marwan had just crossed Syria’s southern desert border on Sunday into northern Jordan, joining the ranks of the almost 600,000 Syrian refugees registered with the U.N. who have fled to Jordan to escape the almost three-year war in Syria that has now left more than 140,000 dead.
Happily, Marwan was later reunited with his family.
After Lebanon and Turkey, Jordan has taken in the most Syrian refugees. Most are women and children who cross the border on foot with the few belongings they can carry. The U.N. and Jordanian army then pick them up and take them to a registration center.
Jordan’s sprawling Zaatari camp is home to more than 100,000 refugees, the second-biggest camp in the world and is effectively Jordan’s fifth-largest city.