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Syrians from award-winning photo win asylum in Italy

Refugee father and son, whose war-induced plight was captured by Turkish photographer, set to begin new life in Italy

Alvise Armellini   | 20.01.2022
Syrians from award-winning photo win asylum in Italy Photo Credit: Mehmet Aslan

ROME

A Syrian refugee father and son, whose war-induced plight was captured by a prize-winning Turkish photographer, are set to begin a new life in Italy, campaigners said on Thursday.

Mehmet Aslan’s photo, called “Hardship of Life,” showed the father, Munzir, standing on a crutch replacing his missing right leg, and holding up his son Mustafa, who was born with no limbs due to gas poisoning affecting his mother during pregnancy.

Both are shown smiling. The poignant image was declared Photo of the Year at the Siena International Photo Awards (SIPA) in October, and has since become one of the symbols of the Syrian civil war.

The pair is due to arrive in Rome on Friday, and will initially be hosted by a Catholic charity in Siena, Tuscany, and then moved to a center for amputees near Bologna, a spokesman for the Siena International Photo Awards said.

Last year, SIPA said Munzir lost his right leg when a bomb was dropped as he walked through a bazaar in Idlib, Syria, while Mustafa was born without lower or upper limbs due to tetra-amelia.

The boy’s congenital disorder was caused by medications his mother Zeynep had to take following exposure to nerve gas. He is said to need special electronic prostheses not available in Turkey, where the boy has lived until now.

Zeynep and Mustafa’s two younger sisters are also coming to Italy, SIPA said. The family’s transfer was organized following an online fundraising appeal initiated by SIPA that raised more than €100,000 ($113,000).

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