Bana Alabed, a 7-year-old girl who captured attention around the world with her tweets from an embattled Aleppo, has been safely evacuated from the war-torn city.
According to NBC News, Bana, her parents, and her two younger brothers were bussed to Idlib, in Syria. They are among some 15,000 civilians who have been removed from East Aleppo, which recently fell to government forces after being held by rebels for four years.
Bana’s mother, Fatemah Alabed, told NBC that her family waited to be evacuated from the city for seven hours on Sunday. When buses finally arrived, they were delayed so frequently that the 40-mile journey to Idlib took 18 hours. “We were held like hostage and like prisoners in our buses, without food, without water … without warmth,” she said.
“I really have two feelings … between sadness and happiness,” Fatemah added. “I feel that my children in safer place, but we don’t know how long we will be safe, and I don’t know where we go.”
In recent weeks, as fighting intensified in Aleppo, Bana and her mother shared updates from the city on Twitter. They posted photos of their home, which had been reduced to rubble by bombs, and shared videos of Bana pleading for help. On December 16, before they were evacuated from Aleppo, Bana and Fatemah appeared in a video addressed to Michelle Obama, in which they implored the first lady “to help us and make us in a safer place because we are so afraid.”
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) December 16, 2016
Bana has gained more than 300,000 Twitter followers, and even began an exchange with J.K. Rowling when Fatemah tweeted that her daughter had watched the Harry Potter movie and “would like to read the book.” But some have doubted the authenticity of the girl’s account, claiming that Bana lives in Turkey and her tweets are a publicity stunt.
On Monday, Bana appeared in a video by the Turkish news agency Andolu, according to the BBC. “We have managed to escape the destruction, because our house was reduced to rubble,” she said, speaking through a translator. “I would like to say thank you to all those who have been asking about our news.”
Read the full story at NBC News.