Seven-year-old face of Syrian war evacuated from Aleppo

Bana Alabed, the seven-year-old from Aleppo who gained a large Twitter following during the siege, has left eastern Aleppo with her mother, who said she had "left her soul" in the city.VIDEO: REUTERS
Bana, seen here in October, posted photos on Twitter of the destruction in Aleppo.
Bana, seen here in October, posted photos on Twitter of the destruction in Aleppo.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

CILVEGOZU (Turkey) • Seven-year-old Bana al-Abed, whose Twitter feed offered a tragic account of the war in Syria, was evacuated from the divided Syrian city of Aleppo yesterday, a Turkish non-governmental organisation announced on social media.

"This morning @AlabedBana was also rescued from #Aleppo with her family. We warmly welcomed them," the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) wrote on its Twitter account, sharing an IHH aid worker's wefie photo taken with the girl.

For her tens of thousands of followers, Bana is a symbol of the tragedy unfolding in Syria, although Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime has slammed her and her mother's nearly daily tweets as propaganda.

Bana has posted pictures on her account of the destruction in Aleppo including her rubble-littered street, while people have tweeted messages of support and concern, notably fearing for her life when tweets became less frequent.

At least 15,000 children are among the more than 300,000 people who have been killed in Syria's five-year war.

Mr Tarakji Ahmad, president of Syrian American Medical Society, also posted a picture of Bana, with an aid worker. "@AlabedBana and many children arrived to #Aleppo countryside. @sams-usa@UOSSM and partners are coordinating the response plan there," he tweeted, also announcing the evacuation.

Bana's last tweet with her mother Fatemah before the evacuation made an appeal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to put a fragile ceasefire back on track after frequent delays.

"Dear @MevlutCavusoglu & @RT-Erdogan please please please make this ceasefire work & get us out now. We are so tired. - Fatemah #Aleppo."

Responding in a tweet yesterday, Mr Cavusoglu wrote: "Difficulties on the ground won't deter us sister. Rest assured that we are doing all to get you and thousands of others to safety."

An IHH spokesman confirmed that the young girl was among the first batch of evacuees, and was at Rashidin region at the moment. "She is likely to be transferred to the camps in Idlib province," he said.

The Islamic charity IHH is playing a large role in the transport of aid for Aleppo as well as the transfer of evacuated Syrians into camps in the Idlib province near the Turkish border.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2016, with the headline 'Seven-year-old face of Syrian war evacuated from Aleppo'. Print Edition | Subscribe