Seven-year-old Syrian girl takes to Twitter to depict life in Aleppo

  • World
  • Thursday, 24 Nov 2016

A general view shows the damage at a site hit by airstrikes in the rebel-held besieged al-Qaterji neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria November 23, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

(Reuters) - Her hair tied into pigtails by matching pink ribbons, seven-year-old Bana Alabed inspects the rubble in her home town of Aleppo, before walking to face the camera.

"I am sad. It's so bad," she tells her audience in English in a clip posted on Twitter. She is later seen holding a banner reading: "Stand with Aleppo. Please stop the bombing and end the siege."

The video, posted on Tuesday and accompanied by the text "checking in the morning after a night of bombing" is the latest the young girl has shared with her nearly 94,000 Twitter followers depicting life in the war-torn Syrian city.

Her account gives a poignant human face to a nearly six-year conflict pitting President Bashar al-Assad against rebels seeking to oust him, in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions forced from their homes.

Renewed air strikes, after a pause that lasted several weeks, have worsened conditions in Aleppo's rebel-held east, where residents are short of food, medicine and fuel.

On her Twitter account, which is managed by her mother, Alabed shares pictures of the city's bombed buildings and of herself at home.

"Good afternoon from #Aleppo I'm reading to forget the war," she said in one post showing Alabed with a book and a doll. A picture posted on Thursday of smoke in the sky had the caption "Good morning from #Aleppo. We are still alive. - Bana."

Asked about what they hoped to achieve, Alabed's mother Fatemah, told Reuters via Twitter in English: "Effort to show people our (lives) so they can act. We only tweet what we think of. The video is near our home, our neighbourhood (is) in ruin".

The seven-year-old's tweets have gained attention from at least one prominent user of the micro-blogging site.

When Fatemah tweeted "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling about her daughter wanting to read one of her stories, the writer and her agent quickly responded.

Fatemah said Alabed had since received "Harry Potter" ebooks and would start reading them. Alabed tweeted her thanks with a picture to which the author replied: "Love you too, Bana! Thinking of you, keep safe #Aleppo".

(Reporting by Francesca Lynagh and Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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