ATTENTION EDITORS: A Picture and Its Story: A Father Begs for Help
A Syrian refugee holds onto his daughter as he waits to cross into Turkey at Akcakale border gate in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, June 15, 2015.
Umit Bektas: The man in the picture was gesturing to all of us on the other side of the barbed wire, asking the soldiers, officials and media for help. He was far from the only one: countless people were begging to be let across the border.
“Take us in, we’re dying here,” I heard someone say.
The baby girl in his arms looked terrified. She was so young but there was something in her eyes… it seemed like she knew what was going on. She wasn’t crying, even though she was hanging on to the barbed wire, also in spite of the heat, the shouting and chaos around her.
There she was with her big eyes, looking out. It appeared to me that was in shock.
A few minutes after I took this photo the Turkish officials and military allowed these people to cross the border into Turkey. They arrived dehydrated, desperate to drink water and cool down.
These refugees had rushed to the Turkish border from the town of Tel Abiad and surrounding villages because they were expecting fighting between Isis and Kurdish forces.
Some of the Syrians were able to get across the border on the first day but the rest of those fleeing their homes were stuck in no man’s land right by the border with Turkey.
There was a complete lack of facilities: no water, no toilets, no shade, no buildings at all.
When I captured this image it was midday and the heat was intense, at more than 30 degrees centigrade. NGOs and soldiers had started to throw bottles of water across but it was obvious that there wasn’t enough to go round.
Usually I have to use telephoto lenses to take photos of those on the border because you can’t get authorisation. You have to work from a distance.
But on this occasion I, and others from the media, were able to accompany local officials and soldiers and approach. We were only able to be there for a few minutes, no more than five.
There are tens of thousands of children who are suffering like the girl in this image - she is just one of them. REUTERS/Umit Bektas