After A Harrowing Week, Bana Alabed, 'Syria's Anne Frank,' Has Escaped Aleppo

It's a shred of hope in an otherwise tragic story.

Since September, 7-year-old Bana Alabed's Twitter account has been broadcasting messages to the world from the besieged, war-torn city of Aleppo, Syria. The tragic messages, reportedly transcribed by Bana's mother Fatemah, have gained public attention: the pair now has more than 320,000 followers worldwide. But with that publicity has also come criticism. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has referred to the Twitter account as "propaganda," while others have spread conspiracy theories that the account is fake.

Now, however, it seems more likely than ever that the account is authentic.

This morning, Ahmad Tarakji, the president of Syrian American Medical Society, tweeted out a picture of him holding Bana after she and her mother escaped safely to the countryside. 

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News that the Alabeds are alive is a relief to the thousands of people who have been following their Twitter account. Several times in recent weeks, the family's lives were reported in danger from air bombings and violent shootings, as the Syrian government moved to take back east Aleppo. One message even included a goodbye. 

According to Tarakji and The Washington Post, Bana is alive and well. The escape of the girl who has been called "Syria's Anne Frank" represents a small sliver of good news in an otherwise tragic situation. What started as a peaceful protest against al-Assad escalated to a civil war after Syria's leader of 16 years cracked down harshly on protesters. Now a 7-year war, the battle between the U.S.-backed rebels and the Russian-backed Syrian government has been made even more violent by the rise of ISIS in the region.

As of this writing, more than 400,000 Syrians have died, 4.8 million are refugees and more than 6 million have been displaced from their homes because of the conflict, according to the United Nations. A ceasefire initiated on Thursday, meant to help evacuate rebels and civilians, seems to have aided the Alabed family in their escape. In her most recent tweet on Sunday, Alabed pleaded with Turkey's foreign minister and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to "make this ceasefire work."

Pictures and videos of Fatemah and Bana safely in the hands of NGO workers are now spreading across the Internet. It appears they and a large group of Syrian civilians made it out of Aleppo safely.

But, as Fatemah noted in a Dec. 19, more still needs to be done to protect the children of Syria. According to Vox and The Huffington Post, getting involved can be as simple as a well-placed donation to a reputable organization like UNICEF or Save The Children, although voting for lawmakers that will support refugees and international aid efforts is important too. 

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