Eastern Ghouta home of 'Noor and Alaa' destroyed by Syrian bombs


Hundreds of civilians were killed as the Syrian government escalated its campaign to overrun the area

Noor and Alaa's home was destroyed in the latest round of bombardment according to their Twitter feed (@Noor_and_Alaa)
Areeb Ullah's picture
Last update: 
Thursday 22 February 2018 16:13 UTC

Syrian government air strikes and shelling on Wednesday destroyed the home of two young girls who have been tweeting about their life inside Eastern Ghouta.

Noor, 10, and her sister, Alaa, eight, have been posting since October 2017 about the realities of living under siege and how they have survived bombardment.

At least 38 people died on Wednesday with hundreds more injured. Since Sunday night, 310 people were killed, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 

A video posted on their Twitter account showed the two girls crying and screaming as dust surrounds them moments after the bombs had hit their home.

Noor can be seen holding her sister Alaa and showing to the camera how her younger sibling was injured in the attack. 

Their mother, Shams Alkhateeb, tweeted from their account on Wednesday to confirm that Alaa had been wounded in Wednesday's attack.

"Our home was destroyed. Alaa is injured. #SaveGhouta #Ghouta #Syria," Alkhateeb wrote on Twitter. 

Video clips posted the day before showed Noor speaking to a camera asking the international community to act.

While she recorded her message, with Alaa standing next to her, bombardment and shelling of the area can be heard in the background.

"The children are in danger of being martyred. Save the children of Ghouta before it's too late," Noor said to a camera. 

Daily recordings sent to Middle East Eye by Alkhateeb documented the sound of regular bombardment from forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad on Eastern Ghouta.

Earlier this month, speaking from the besieged area, Alkhateeb told Middle East Eye that the continued shelling of areas near her home and death of friends and family had given her children no choice but to start posting videos.

"Children inside the besieged areas are facing malnutrition, lack of water and electricity. We deserve to live and continue in this life," said Alkhateeb.

"That's why we decided to open a Twitter account to show the world what is happening inside Eastern Ghouta. Nothing in the world can stop us posting, and we hope to document our suffering on Twitter." 

A massive escalation in the bombardment, including rocket fire, shelling, air strikes, and government helicopters dropping barrel bombs, since Sunday, has become one of the deadliest episodes in the seven-year-long civil war.

Videos posted online showed multiple attacks with thermobaric bombs being dropped by Syrian government helicopters on the rebel enclave.

The United Nations has denounced the bombardment, which has struck hospitals and other civilian infrastructure, saying such attacks could be war crimes.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for an "immediate suspension of all war activities in eastern Ghouta". Speaking to the UN Security Council, Guterres said residents were living in "hell on earth".

Guterres expressed support for a Swedish and Kuwaiti push for the 15-member council to demand a 30-day ceasefire in Syria.

Diplomats said the council could vote on a draft resolution in the coming days. But Assad's veto-wielding ally Russia has called the proposal "not realistic".

"We cannot simply decide that there is a ceasefire. That's a long and complex process to achieve," Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told Reuters in reference to the draft ceasefire resolution.

"But we are working on (the draft)."

'Blatant war crimes'

Moscow on Wednesday called for the council to meet publicly on Thursday to discuss the situation in Ghouta.

The pace of the strikes appeared to slow overnight, only to intensify again later on Wednesday, the Observatory said. Pro-government forces fired hundreds of rockets and dropped barrel bombs from helicopters on the district's towns and villages.

Doctors Without Borders reported on Wednesday that 13 facilities it supports inside Eastern Ghouta have been bombed since Monday.

Medical rights group Physicians For Human Rights called the attacks "blatant war crimes" that have become "an everyday feature" in the war.

Eastern Ghouta falls into one of four "de-escalation zones" set up under a deal between government allies Russia and Iran, and rebel backer Turkey, agreed early last year.

About 400,000 people still live under siege in Eastern Ghouta, including hundreds in urgent need of medical care outside the enclave.