The word migrant has become a largely inaccurate umbrella term for this complex story.
In 2015 the fallout of the wars in the Middle East, Africa and Asia came to Europe’s door step.
Hundreds of thousands risked their lives in the waters of the Mediterranean and the cold mountain steppes of the Balkans trying to escape conflict and poverty in their home countries.
For many – such as three-year-old Aylan Kurdi – the journey ended on the shores of Turkish, Greek or Libyan beaches, lying lifeless after having failed in their attempt at securing a life free of war.
Those who made it were greeted with an inconsistent European response; riot police and tear gas in some states, as governments cracked down on the influx, and in others open borders and banner-wielding crowds welcoming them to their new homes.
There were beatings, far-right mobs, and barbed-wire barriers, but also mass outpourings of solidarity as ordinary people volunteered their time and opened their homes to those in need.
Al Jazeera looks back on a story that has defined the year – and possibly our generation.