The Syrian Civil War— which is now going into its fifth year— has not only destroyed the landscape of a history-rich country, it has also been the reason for so many lives that have been lost. Though those who have decided to stay, or did not manage to get out of East Aleppo in time, are cut off from the rest of the world in many ways; it’s still quite interesting to note that many of the survivors are able to gain access to internet, as well as various social media sites. One such example of this is a 7-year old girl by the name of Bana Alabed who— with the help of her English teacher mother— uses Twitter as a sounding board to speak about the current atrocities going on in Syria.
Bana, who tweets under the handle: @AlabedBana, has racked up over 368,000 followers since joining this past September. Many of her tweets focus on her day-to-day life in East Aleppo.
Some of the posts are mundane; for instance, she writes on December 8th:
I am happy I lost two more teeth.
This tweet was accompanied by a cute, smiling picture of the young girl.
Other posts are measurably more bleak, especially ones in the second and third weeks of December. On December 16th, specifically, Bana’s mother wrote a direct appeal to anyone who may have any sort of influence over the conflict. She writes:
Share this message with the whole world. #Aleppo ceasefire broke. I beg world u do something now to get us out. – Fatemah
From Aleppo to Turkey
Amazingly, the girl and her family were able to escape Aleppo on December 19th for Turkey. On the 21st, Bana got the opportunity to meet and speak with Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.
During the meeting, Bana thanked the leader in English, saying: “Thank you for supporting the children of Aleppo and help us to get out from war. I love you.”
What Bana Alabed Saw
Along with the thousands of other children who have been affected by this war, Bana experienced a degree of violence that the rest of the world is now just starting to comprehend. In an interview with the BBC, Bana tells about what it was like to survive a bombing at her home.
She remembers, “We were very scared. We used to play in the house which was suddenly bombed. We were really scared, we changed location, went to the basement. We suffocated because of the heavy smoke with the rubble. When our house was bombed, we managed to escape under the rubble safely, but we nearly died.”
Several human rights organizations estimate that well over 400,000 civilians, rebel fighters, and government forces have been killed. Among these mortalities are an estimated 50,000 children.