So­cial me­dia star, 7, among evac­uees from east­ern Aleppo

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in Beirut

A Syr­ian girl from east­ern Aleppo whose tweets from the war zone cap­ti­vated world at­ten­tion was evac­u­ated to safety on Mon­day, part of an evac­u­a­tion deal that saw the re­main­ing res­i­dents of the for­mer rebel en­clave head to other parts of the coun­try.

“I es­caped from East #Aleppo,” she tweeted af­ter ar­riv­ing in Rashidin, an area west of Aleppo, af­ter she and her mother were evac­u­ated from the war-torn east of the city.

Seven-year-old Bana Alabed’s mother Fatemah set up and be­gan op­er­at­ing the ac­count in Septem­ber. Tweet­ing on her daugh­ter’s be­half, they doc­u­mented the hor­rors of liv­ing through the bru­tal­ity of life in east­ern Aleppo, with much of the city de­stroyed by fight­ing. Their ac­count even­tu­ally gar­nered some 334,000 fol­low­ers.

Fatemah, said she was glad to have fi­nally reached safety but ex­pressed re­gret that she was forced out of her home city, and said she did not want to be­come a refugee.

An English teacher, Fatemah said she cre­ated the Twit­ter ac­count to tell the world about the suf­fer­ing of chil­dren and all res­i­dents of rebel-held east­ern Aleppo.

“We are happy be­cause our voice reached to all the world,” she said, flanked by Bana, who wore a wool white and mau­vestriped cap on her head. “I want for my kids a good fu­ture.”

Bana’s Twit­ter ac­count be­came a hit dur­ing the siege and bom­bard­ment of Aleppo, send­ing out mes­sages of dis­tress that moved her many fol­low­ers. Fatemah recorded and tweeted video mes­sages from Bana to the world and pho­tos of the long-haired child, some­times us­ing Periscope.

Har­row­ing mes­sage

She sent out mes­sages to Barack Obama, Hil­lary Clin­ton and Harry Pot­ter au­thor J.K. Rowl­ing. Of­ten, the mes­sages were signed by Fatemah.

In De­cem­ber, she sent out a har­row­ing mes­sage and dis­ap­peared for two days, lead­ing to much spec­u­la­tion about the girl’s fate.

“We are sure the army is cap­tur­ing us now. We will see each other an­other day dear world. Bye.- Fatemah #Aleppo”

And in her last mes­sage on Sun­day be­fore evac­u­at­ing, Fatemah tweeted to the Turk­ish lead­er­ship to “make this cease­fire work & and get us out now. We are so tired.”

Fatemah on Mon­day said she hoped she and Bana can re­turn to Aleppo soon.

“I left my soul there,” she said.

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