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'Charlie Hebdo' cartoon featuring drowned Syrian boy causes outcry

The cartoon depicts two male creatures running after terrified women.

Three-year-old Aylan and four-year-old Galip Kurdi from Syria died when the boat they were travelling in capsized off the Turkish coast. Picture: Supplied

PARIS - A drawing in French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo suggesting Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy found dead on a Turkish beach last year, would have grown up to be a sex attacker caused outrage online on Thursday.

Charlie Hebdo says this drowned baby Syrian refugee would have grown up to sexually harass German women. pic.twitter.com/Atprm0LffW

Here is #CharlieHebdo at its best. Disgusting😷 #wearenotCharlie #jenesuispasCharlie https://t.co/cEeEWu11UR

The cartoon depicts two male creatures running after terrified women with the caption: "What would have become of the young Aylan if he had grown up? A groper in Germany."

Sexual assaults on women in Cologne and other German cities on New Year's Eve, many blamed on migrants, have prompted more than 600 criminal complaints and caused a backlash against German Chancellor Angela Merkel's policies on refugees.

More than 1 million entered Germany last year, more than any other European country.

The cartoon was published a week after the anniversary of attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris which killed 12 people in January last year.

The phrase Je suis Charlie, was swiftly adopted by supporters online.

This time, many people on social media said the cartoon was offensive while others argued Charlie Hebdo was keeping to its usual provocative tone to stir debate on European attitudes to the migrant crisis.

The image of Aylan lying face down on a Turkish beach last September appeared around the world and prompted a wave of sympathy for the plight of refugees fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.