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Bana Alabed: Daily Chronicles of 7-year-old from the war torn region Aleppo which punctures the world conscience

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Bana Alabed. Twitter

‘Tonight we have no house. It’s bombed and I got in rubble. I saw deaths and nearly died.’

December 9, 2016: A 7-year-old Syrian girl, Bana Alabed tweets live from Aleppo regularly with the help of her mother, Fatemah who is an English teacher. Millions of people each day follow her tweets about airstrikes, death, fear, hunger, and their repeated calls for peace. Her account reads,

“Hi I’m Bana I’m 7 years old girl. I and my mom are tweeting live from East Aleppo. Account managed by mom.”

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Bana writes to her escalating number of followers, ‘I want to live, I don’t want to die.’

“I think my childhood is stolen by the war but I fight for my childhood again under the bombings.”

Bana’s account is almost a daily chronicle of her life, her mother and two younger brothers in Aleppo’s al-Shaar district. She is often seen reading or writing in her pictures. According to her, “I’m reading to forget the war.”

Recently, her mother tweeted the author J.K. Rowling, “Hi @jk_rowling I watched Harry Potter movie, Bana would like to read the book.- Fatemah #Aleppo”

Rowling sent them the Harry Potter books in e-book form, and Bana responded it by posting a picture of her holding up a thank-you sign which is hand-drawn.

Her account punctures the world’s conscience as if it has grown accustomed to the nearly six-year-old conflict and violence attached to it.

From 2012, Aleppo had been divided between the regime-held west and the rebel-held east. In the east, stocks of food and medicines are running out, and almost all the hospitals had been destroyed by bombing.

Bana’s message which she spreads through her account is simple, stop bombing the civilians and bring peace. Bana Alabed has become a voice of Syria. She represents the civilians whose voice has travels beyond the country’s borders.

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Bana, somehow reminds us of ‘Anne Frank’. At that point of time no one knew about Frank. She kept writing in secret but the world knows about Bana, and no one really wants her to be the 21st century Anne Frank.

– by Pinaz Kazi of NewsGram. Twitter: @PinazKazi

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Thousands Displaced as SDF Targeting Civilians Advances on Last IS Territory in Syria

Bali said the second obstacle for the SDF forces is that IS has a number of hostages who had been arrested and detained by the militants.

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Syria
A U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter stands atop a hill in the desert outside the village of Baghuz, Syria, Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

Islamic State (IS) fighters are targeting civilians who are trying to flee the last territory held by the terror group in eastern Syria, U.S.-backed forces told VOA on Thursday.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S.-backed Kurdish-led alliance, said that IS militants hit a road used by civilians to escape violence as the battle to free the town of Baghuz in Syria’s Deir el-Zour province enters its sixth day.

“IS has blocked that road to prevent civilians from coming to the SDF,” SDF fighter Ali Ahmed said. “They have targeted civilians there, but we have responded to their attacks against civilians.”

Ahmed said that some families of IS fighters are among the fleeing civilians.

Located near the Iraqi border, Baghuz is the last stronghold held by IS extremists in Syria. With the help of the U.S.-led coalition, SDF fighters have pushed out IS from all territories it once held since 2014.

Fierce fighting between IS militants and the U.S.-backed fighters continues as the latter try to gain ground on Baghuz on several fronts.

“We have two main obstacles as we advance on Baghuz,” Mustafa Bali, an SDF spokesperson, told VOA. “The first one is that [IS] terrorists are holding on to a number of civilians to use them as a bargain chip for their exit.”

Bali said the second obstacle for the SDF forces is that IS has a number of hostages who had been arrested and detained by the militants.

IS controls about 5 square kilometers of territory inside the Syrian town, local military officials said.

“It seems that even the Americans are trying to rescue those civilians and hostages from IS,” Hasib said in a phone interview. VOA

Ivan Hasib, a Syrian reporter covering the battle, told VOA that he witnessed an unusual movement by U.S. military vehicles in the area.

“It seems that even the Americans are trying to rescue those civilians and hostages from IS,” Hasib said in a phone interview.

He said the remaining IS fighters in Baghuz are hoping to exchange hostages for a safe exit into the Iraqi desert.

Also Read: Islamic State Using Women, Children as Human Shields to Postpone Defeat

“There must be some sort of negotiations between IS and SDF about the hostages, because even [U.S.-led] coalition airstrikes have stopped since Tuesday night,” Hasib said, adding that SDF fighters were forced to pause their military operations on the northeastern front in Baghuz.

“We can’t start marching toward it from this side because of civilians. Many civilians are using this road to this side. So we’re here to protect them,” Mezlum Kobani, an SDF commander, told VOA.

According to SDF officials, more than 5,000 civilians have been rescued from IS in Baghuz. (VOA)