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"I fear for my brothers and for my parents": Seven-year-old who tweeted from Aleppo

Bana al-Abed was one of thousands of people evacuated.

An IHH aid worker picture with Bana.
An IHH aid worker picture with Bana.

THE SEVEN-YEAR-OLD Syrian girl whose Twitter account provided a tragic window for the world into the destruction of her hometown Aleppo has described taking up blogging to give a voice to the city’s children.

Bana al-Abed was one of thousands of people evacuated from once rebel-held areas of Aleppo in the last days under a deal brokered by Turkey and Russia.

She was evacuated on Monday and taken to the Turkish capital along with her family, including her mother Fatemah who manages the account.

“We wanted the world to hear the voice of the children of Aleppo. We spoke of the bombardments and tweeted so that people could see the war,” Bana told AFP in an interview in Ankara.

Bana and her family lived in east Aleppo, which was controlled by rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and backed by Turkey.

They were evacuated as the area was being overrun by government forces, who are now on the verge of clinching their biggest victory in the six-year war by taking total control of Aleppo.

“I fear the war because he wants to kill us,” she said in apparent reference to Assad. “I am scared. I fear for my brothers and for my parents,” she said in Arabic.

Yesterday she was given the rare honour of being hosted along with her family by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the presidential palace in Ankara.

‘Like a hell’

For her 330,000 online followers, Bana became a symbol of the tragedy in Syria, as she and her mother sent poignant tweets on the destruction of their city and the struggles of daily life.

Assad’s regime has slammed her and her mother’s messages as propaganda, and pro-government critics even alleged the account was fake.

But her mother Fatemah, who runs the account @AlabedBana, said such allegations were purely motivated by jealousy.

“I think everyone says that because they are jealous. And they know that we are real and want to make us feel upset.

“So I think they must see this and he will recognise that we are not a propaganda,” Fatemah said, speaking in English.

Fatemah said “our life in Aleppo was like a hell”.

- © AFP, 2016

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