DUBAI: A picture of two Syrian brothers — one representing the Olympic refugee team, the other the Syrian team — hugging on the sidelines of the Tokyo Games has been circulating on social media.
Many praised the image, with one Twitter user saying: “The most beautiful image from the #OpeningCeremony are the two #Syrian brothers, who were reunited.” Others called it “surreal.”
Alaa Maso from the Refugee Olympic Team — who will be competing in the men’s swimming — was photographed embracing his brother Mohamed Maso, who is competing in the triathlon.
Both brothers, originally from the city of Aleppo in Syria, now live in Germany.
Alaa left Syria in 2015 and resettled in Germany after his training facilities were damaged during fighting, according to his profile on the International Olympic Committee website.
His brother Mohamed also fled the war in Syria for Europe in 2015. During his journey to Europe, “his Syrian triathlon suit and running shoes” were in his backpack, his profile read.
Alaa will also be competing alongside another Syrian refugee swimmer, Yusra Mardini.
About half a million people have been killed in Syria and millions more forced to flee their homes since anti-government protests in 2011 led to a deadly war.