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Aleppo girl who received Harry Potter books may have lost home to bombs

Shortly after receiving Harry Potter books, Bana described how she was crying for young friend killed in overnight rocket strike
Bana Alabed, left, with her brothers (Twitter)

A seven-year-old girl in rebel-held Aleppo who made recent headlines with tweets thanking Harry Potter author JK Rowling for sending her e-copies of her books, may have lost her home to the war on Sunday.

Bana Alabed was sent the books by Rowling's representatives last Wednesday after her mother had used Twitter to get in touch with the British writer, telling Rowling how much her daughter had enjoyed the movie version of her story about a schoolboy wizard. 

The Twitter account, which is in Bana's name but managed by her mother Fatemah, had already received widespread media attention for its unflinching account of life under siege from a child's perspective, gaining almost 100,000 followers.

On Sunday, as almost 10,000 civilians fled the fighting amid government troops advancing into east Aleppo behind Russian and Syrian air strikes, a tweet from Bana’s account said: “Tonight we have no house, it's bombed & I got in rubble. I saw deaths and I almost died.”

Asked about what they hoped to achieve, Bana'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."

Her account offers 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.

Shortly after receiving the Harry Potter books, Bana described how she was crying for a young friend killed in an overnight rocket strike.

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, Bana has shared pictures of the city's bombed buildings and of herself at home, when she had one.