The Syrian child who thought the camera was a gun - and "surrendered".

A photo of a Syrian child is going viral today – for the most heartbreaking of reasons.

In Australia, most children automatically know to break into a cheesy grin when a camera’s pointed their way.

But some Syrian children, who have grown up in a conflict now deed the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II, are more familiar with guns than cameras.

Related content: The unknown future of Syria’s children.

That’s the heartbreaking story told by a photo that’s going viral today after it was tweeted by Palestine-based photojournalist Nadia Abu Shaban.

The photo, believed to have been taken in 2012 by Photojournalist Osman Sağırlı, shows a young child raising his hands in a ‘surrender’ pose, apparently thinking the camera is a weapon aimed at his head.

Photo: Twitter.

“Thought he has a weapon not a camera so she gave up” reads the caption.

The photo has been retweeted more than 8,600 times, and has hit a nerve with many social media users — with one twitter user writing: “I’m actually weeping seeing this. We’ve made this planet a horrible place, haven’t we?”

Another commented: “That’s really sad… must’ve been terrified when the camera went ‘click’.”

The five-year civil war in Syria has already claimed an estimated 220,000 lives, while 12.2 million people — including more than five million children — remain in need of humanitarian assistance.

Turkish media report the photo shows a four-year-old boy named Adi Hudea, who lost his father in the Hama bombing and travelled to Camp Atmen on the border of Syria/Turkey with his very nervous mother and three siblings.

Related content: A way to understand Syria.

Today, the five-year civil war in Syria has already claimed an estimated 220,000 lives, while 12.2 million people — including more than five million children — remain in need of humanitarian assistance.

More than million children are in need of such assistance,with more than 1 million Syrian children having sought refuge in neighbouring countries, according to Save the Children.

Related content: The conflict in Syria is now the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII.