Bana al-Abed is a 10-year-old Syrian girl originally from Aleppo. Her mother Fatima was an English teacher and her father Ghassan was a lawyer who worked for the local council in Aleppo. Bana has two younger brothers called Mohamed and Noor.
Growing up in Aleppo Bana’s childhood was nice during peaceful times. She went to school, played with friends, and would often visit her mum at the university she taught. That is until the fragile peace in Syria shattered and Bashar al Assad’s brutality reached her home town.
Bana was just 7 years old when she caught the attention of the world with her tweets regarding her life under besieged Aleppo. Her twitter account, managed by her English speaking mum, showed the dreadful conditions they were living in. Due to journalist often being targeted by the Assad regime it was often impossible for them to report from within Syria. Bana shared her lived reality of daily bombs and air strikes in Aleppo. Her tweets provided a crucial and first hand look at the war crimes being committed.
Bana shared many moving and heart breaking tweets from her account such as ‘I am afraid I will die tonight’ and ‘my friend was killed, I miss her so much’. She would often show herself and her family walking through rubble or hiding as bombs dropped nearby. Bana tried to hold the western leaders such as Obama to account for their inaction in Syria and would chastise Assad and Putin via tweets for their brutality in Syria. Her words fell on deaf ears and Bana’s house was bombed in late 2016. She survived with her family with minor injuries.
Bana used her voice to show the world the tragic situation in Aleppo and the brutality of the Assad regime and its allies. As the fall of Aleppo was nearing Turkey and Russia agreed a ceasefire; Bana al-Abed and her family were evacuated, and now reside in Turkey.
The 7-year-old Bana could see the injustice happening in front of her eyes, children dying, orphans being homeless. She could not go to school or sleep due to constant bombardment by Assad and allies, day and night. Being besieged meant there was hardly any food to eat or drink. Bana could have succumbed to her fear; especially that using her phone put her at risk of her location being bombed. However, she persisted to show the world the grave cruelty of the Assad regime and allies.