Screenshot of Fatemah and Bana Alabed talking with reporters during their evacuation on December 19, 2016. Image courtesy Qasioun News Agency on YouTube.
Born in 2009, Bana al-Abed is a Syrian refugee whose experiences of the Syrian Civil War in Aleppo drew international attention to her and her country.With the help of her mother, Bana began sending messages to the outside world on September 24, 2016, using Twitter. Within two days, her account had gained major attention and the hashtags #StandWithAleppo, #HolocaustAleppo, #MassacreInAleppo, and #StopAleppoMassacre trended as Bana tweeted at world leaders.
Bana’s tweets documented months of the siege on the city, including her survival of airstrikes, destruction, hunger, displacement, and the ongoing threat of death. Her tweets also documented the effects on her parents and younger brothers, the inability to attend school, and the stories of other Aleppo citizens. In November 2016, her account briefly went offline as her family received death threats and feared for their lives. That same month, their home was destroyed during heavy bombardment.
This is our house, My beloved dolls died in the bombing of our house. I am very sad but happy to be alive.- Bana pic.twitter.com/9i0xxJrQtD
— Bana Alabed (@AlabedBana) November 29, 2016
In December 2016, Bana and her family were able to escape Aleppo during evacuations of former rebel-held districts. She was interviewed by Hadi Al Abdullah and on December 21, the family was granted official permission to live in Turkey as refugees. They received Turkish citizenship just five months later.
After becoming a refugee, Bana continued to tweet her support for Syria, provide updates, and encourage world leaders to remain engaged in ending the conflict. In 2017, Bana visited the United Nations’ headquarters in New York City and published her memoir, Dear World. Today, now age 11, Bana continues to fight for the rights of Syria’s people and communicate the “unerasable effect in the souls of each Syrian” from years of war.
You can follow Bana on Twitter at @AlabedBana