Skip to main content

Iconic young war victims Bana, Abdel urge help for 'children of Syria'

Bana al-Abed, whose tweets gave tragic description of bombing of Aleppo, meets Abdel Basset, who lost his legs in bombardment of Idlib

Seven-year-old Syrian girl Bana al-Abed, who survived bombing of Aleppo (AFP/file photo)

Two Syrian children who have become powerful symbols of their homeland's conflict met on Saturday, vowing that "the war will not stop us" in spite of the horrific violence around them.

Seven-year-old Bana al-Abed, whose Twitter account gave a tragic description of the bombing of Aleppo, met 10-year-old Abdel Basset, who lost his legs during the bombardment of Idlib.

Abdel was caught in a barrel bomb attack by regime forces in the town of Al-Hbeit, in northwest Idlib province on Thursday.

A video circulated by activists on social media showed him lying amid thick clouds of smoke, screaming in agony, CNN reported. "Baba, carry me, baba!" he cries out for his father, unable to stand, his legs blown off at the knees.

Turkish NGO the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) said Bana visited Abdel in hospital in Hatay, southern Turkey, where he is being treated.

In a live Periscope video on Twitter, Bana gave Abdel presents before she urged people to "help the children of Syria".

She added: "We will go to school, we will play. The war will not stop us. We are strong."

Sharing the clip, Bana said she was "very happy" to meet Abdel in a tweet.

Bana al-Abed meets fellow Syrian Abdel Basset, who lost his legs in bombardment in Idlib, at hospital in Hatay, Turkey, on Saturday (AFP)

The IHH said Abdel's mother and three-year-old sister were killed during the bombardment, while his other two sisters are suffering from unidentified health problems.

A monitoring group said the barrel bomb attack came from Syrian army warplanes. CNN said it could not independently verify claims of the origin of the attack. There's been no comment from the Syrian regime or Syrian state media.

Idlib has been under rebel control since 2015 and is currently covered by a nationwide ceasefire deal brokered by Russia and Turkey in December, that requires the Syrian government to halt military operations against anyone who isn't affiliated with the Islamic State group or other terror groups, state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

Bana became known worldwide with her tweets from flashpoint city Aleppo that offered insight into the raging conflict.

She gained a global following last year with her Twitter updates from Aleppo has written an open letter to US President Donald Trump asking him to help other children her war-torn country.

Bana drew some 363,000 followers after she joined the micro-blogging site last September where she uploaded messages and pictures of daily life in Aleppo on the @AlabedBana handle, an account managed by her mother Fatemah.

In December, the young girl and her family were evacuated from the rebel-held eastern part of the city amid a government offensive. They arrived in Turkey, where they met President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has supported rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Bana recently wrote an open letter to US President Donald Trump asking him to help other children in her war-torn country.

On her own @FatemahAlabed Twitter account, Fatemah posted a picture of a handwritten letter where the young girl introduces herself to Trump as "part of the Syrian children who suffered from the Syrian war".

" ... Can you please save the children and people of Syria? You must do something for the children of Syria because they are like your children and deserve peace like you," the letter reads. "If you promise me you will do something for the children of Syria, I am already your new friend."

In the letter, Bana also talked about losing friends in the nearly-six-year conflict ,and her new life outside Syria.

"Right now in Turkey, I can go out and enjoy. I can go to school although I didn't yet. That is why peace is important for everyone including you," she said.

"However, millions of Syrian children are not like me right now and suffering in different parts of Syria. They are suffering because of adult people," she wrote.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.