A seven-year-old Syrian girl who captured global attention with her Twitter updates from besieged Aleppo has been evacuated and will be brought to Turkey with her family, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. Helped by her mother Fatemah, who manages the @AlabedBana account, Bana Alabed has uploaded pictures and videos of life during the nearly six-year-old Syrian war, gaining around 331,000 followers on the micro-blogging site since September.
Last week, mother and daughter shared a video of themselves asking US First Lady Michelle Obama for help in reaching a safe place after advances by the Syrian army and allied Shi’ite Muslim militias into rebel-held eastern parts of the city.
— Zaher Sahloul (@sahloul) December 19, 2016
A ceasefire and evacuation deal was agreed last Tuesday but thousands of people have struggled to leave due to hold-ups.
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“This morning @AlabedBana was also rescued from #Aleppo with her family. We warmly welcomed them,” Turkish aid agency IHH wrote on Twitter on Monday with a picture of the smiling young girl alongside an aid worker.
Cavusoglu, who had replied to Bana last week on Twitter, said on Monday Bana and her family would be brought to Turkey.
Speaking to the pro-opposition Qasioun news agency in al-Rashideen on the southwest edge of Aleppo, Fatemah said in English: “I am sad because I leave my country, I leave my soul there … We can’t stay there because there are a lot of bombs, and no clean water, no medicine.
“When we get out, we had a lot of suffering because we stayed almost 24 hours in bus without water and food or anything,” she continued. “We stayed like a prisoner, a hostage but finally we arrived here.”
An operation to bring thousands of people out of the last rebel-held enclave of Aleppo was under way again on Monday after being delayed for several days, together with the evacuation of two besieged pro-government villages in nearby Idlib province.