The image of drowned Syrian toddler, Aylan Kurdi, has raised the issue of the suffering of Syrian victims of that country's civil war, and was arguably the straw that broke the camel's back, providing the final justification for the flood of refugees that Europe feels obligated to admit.
But in recent days, Abdullah Kurdi, the father of the drowned toddler, Aylan Kurdi, has been accused of working with smugglers, and is said to have been piloting the boat that capsized when it tried to reach Greece. Kurdi has denied this, although witnesses who said that they were on the boat that he piloted blamed him for the tragedy.
Ahmed Hadi Jawwad and his wife, both Iraqis, who lost their 11-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son when the boat sank, told Reuters that Abdullah Kurdi panicked and accelerated when a wave hit the boat.
Their account clashes with Kurdi's claim that somebody else was driving the boat.
A third passenger confirmed their version of events, which Reuters said it could not independently verify.
"The story that (Aylan's father) told is untrue. I don't know what made him lie, maybe fear," Jawwad said in Baghdad on Friday. "He was the driver from the very beginning until the boat sank."
He added that Kurdi swam to them and begged them to cover up his true role in the tragedy. Jawwad's wife confirmed the details.
Jawwad said his contact person with the smugglers told him that Kurdi was the one who organized the trip.
However, Kurdi told Britain's MailOnline that the accusations were untrue.
"I thought about driving the boat but I didn't do it. That is all lies," he said.
"This is not true. If I was a people smuggler, why would I put my family in the same boat as the other people? I paid the same amount to the people smugglers," he told the newspaper.
In comments to Kurdish news outlet Rudaw this week, Kurdi blamed a Turkish smuggler but did not name him.
The Mail on Sunday found that the Kurdis, while originally from Syria, had settled in Turkey last year. According to people who knew them, Abdullah wanted to go to Canada because his sister lives there.
Zafer Bektars, a Turkish neighbor, told the newspaper: “I am angry and sad. Angry with him because of what he did and the risk he took and sad because those children were very little. They did not have to leave.”