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The child who mistook a camera for a machine gun

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UPDATE 1 April, 2015: The photographer, Osman Sağırlı, has spoken about the child and the circumstances around the image, read more here. 

On March 25, Gaza-based photojournalist Nadia Abu Shaban tweeted a picture of a small Syrian child holding her hands above her head with a look of pure fear in her innocent, brown eyes.

The young girl, Hudea Adi was just four years old when the photo was taken and had mistaken the photographer’s camera for a machine gun.

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Since then, the tweet has been shared more than 10,000 times and the social media world has scrambled to discover who the little girl is and where the picture came from.

The photo originally appeared in a Turkish newspaper. Photo: Imgur.

The caption on the photo reveals just a small amount of the horror that a child whose natural reaction to a camera is so unnatural would have already experienced:

‘Her face suddenly drops. She squeezes her bottom lip between her teeth and gently lifts up her hands. Where he remains like that without a word. It is not exactly easy to cheer up the child who thought the camera was a machine gun about to strike him. Adi Hudea, only four years old, lost her father in the Hama bombing. She went to Camp Atmen on the border of Syria/Turkey with her very nervous mother and three siblings.’

While the origins of the photo are unconfirmed, it is believed to have been taken by photojournalist Osman Sağırlı last year and published in Türkiye newspaper at some stage since then.

Since the Syrian civil war broke out in March 2011, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) believes that there are around 10 million asylum seekers, refugees or displaced Syrians.

NOTE: Parts of this story – including Hudea’s gender – have been updated to reflect the information provided by the original photographer.

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