ANKARA Dec 22 Bana Alabed, the young Syrian
girl who drew global attention with her tweets from Aleppo
before being evacuated to Turkey this week, says she hopes to go
back to her hometown one day and fulfil a dream.
"When I grow up I want to become a teacher and go back to
Aleppo and teach the children of Aleppo," Bana told Reuters in
an interview in Ankara on Thursday.
The seven-year-old and her family were led safely from the
rebel-held eastern part of Aleppo this week and later arrived in
Turkey where they met President Tayyip Erdogan at his palace in
Ankara on Wednesday. Turkey has supported rebels fighting Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad.
With the help of her mother Fatemah, who manages the
@AlabedBana account, Bana has shared pictures and videos of life
during the nearly six-year-old Syrian war, amassing some 364,000
followers since joining the micro-blogging site in September.
Her messages would show her at home or outside, at times
inspecting the rubble in besieged Aleppo.
"I asked my father to film me near my school ... and I asked
him if it was okay to tweet it," Bana said. "We used Twitter to
make the voice of Aleppo children reach the world."
According to the latest United Nations figures, at least
34,000 people have been evacuated from east Aleppo in a
week-long operation following a crushing government offensive.
Asked to describe daily life in Aleppo, Bana said: "There
was bombing and our house was bombed but we survived, we felt
afraid and went down the basement."
"There were a lot of stones and dust. We were about to die,
but thank God we survived. My school and my garden were bombed.
I miss my house."
Reuters could not immediately verify the events described by
Bana. Last month, Fatemah sent harrowing messages describing the
bombardment of their house alongside a picture of her daughter
covered in dust.
Asked about some critics deeming the account a fake one,
Fatemah said the speculation made her "nervous and angry".
Bana also drew the attention of some famous Tweeters,
including "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling, who along with her
agent sent the young girl e-books about the famous boy wizard.
Asked whether they were adjusting to their new life in
Turkey, Fatemah said in English: "When we hear (the) sound of
car that's hurried, we think it is the sound of bomb so we
"But I am happy that my kids now live in peace and have time
to think about their future and maybe I will make them go to
(Reporting By Issam Abdallah; Writing by Marie-Louise
Gumuchian; Editing by Tom Heneghan)