4-Year-Old Syrian Refugee Separated From Family Highlights Plight

Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 05:55 PM

By Angela Deines

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The recent account of Marwan, the 4-year-old Syrian refugee boy who was temporarily separated from his family when crossing the border into Jordan, illustrates how the ongoing conflict has forced more than a million children to leave their native land.

Andrew Harper, the U.N. relief agency’s representative in Jordan, said with the confusion that is often at the Syrian-Jordan border, it’s not uncommon for family members to get separated, including parents losing sight of their children, The Washington Post reported.

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Harper tweeted Monday that the boy had been temporarily separated from his family  Monday. Confusion began after media reports said the boy was found alone.

Harper then later tweeted another photo, illustrating how the boy had become separated from his family but had not been alone.

Harper soon followed that tweet up with one that said children, elderly, sick and pregnant refugees often get separated from their groups as they near the border.

The photo of Marwan being separated, but not far away from his family, prompted a U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees press officer say that the original photo was misleading.

"Let me say first, the child was temporarily separated. He was a tiny bit behind his family. His family were ahead and he was just straggling behind. That's the story. He didn't enter as an unaccompanied minor … he was literally 20 steps behind," the press officer said, according to The Guardian.

Harper also tweeted photos of Pakistani student and education activist Malala Yousafzai helping refugees cross the border.

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