The seven-year-old girl who has been tweeting about the dire situation in Aleppo has been evacuated form the city and is safe, a charity official has said.
Bana Alabed is among the around 3,000 people to have reached relative safety on Monday after a weekend in which the evacuation of thousands of civilians from the last rebel enclaves of the embattled Syrian city was delayed.
Ahmad Tarakji, the president of the Syrian American Medical Society, tweeted that Bana was safe and well in the Aleppo countryside, along with a picture of her smiling in an aid worker’s arms.
The news comes as it emerged 10 buses carrying around 500 civilians from two Shiite villages besieged by rebels in northern Syria are on their way to government-controlled areas.
Evacuations of injured fighters and residents from Foua and Kfarya were conditions which were added to a ceasefire deal that paved the way for the last rebels and civilians to depart from what was left of the revolution in Aleppo.
However, the deal was jeopordised after both sides reported ceasefire violations last week, and al-Qaeda affiliated rebels set fire to some of the buses going to Foua and Kfraya on Sunday.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the pan-Arab Al-Mayadeen TV said that the operation was proceeding as of Monday, as buses left Foua and Kfarya. More than 2,000 sick and wounded people are supposed to leave the villages.
Bana set up a Twitter account with the help of her English-speaking mother Fatemeh in September, using it to talk about how she wanted to go to school. Fatemah Alabed also posted messages asking for the international community to help stop the air strikes that have pounded Aleppo in the last few months, and pictures of Bana and her two younger brothers.
The account was criticised by many, including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad himself, who said he believes it is terrorist propaganda. However, several investigations have colloborated that Bana and her family are real.
When the Russian-backed Syrian government offensive on Aleppo intensified two weeks ago, Fatemeh tweeted that their home had been destroyed, and her father injured. The pair also posted ‘goodbye’ messages and temporarily deleted the account when it became clear the Syrian army and allied militias were closing in.
The Alabeds are now in Idlib, the rebel-held province to the west of Aleppo, but several aid agencies have warned that conditions for new arrivals are dire. There was not adequate time to prepare for the influx of people from Aleppo, meaning many are without adequate shelter in the freezing weather, and food and medical help are still scarce.
Idlib has also been heavily targeted by regime air strikes in the past few months – which analysts say are likely to continue.
Later on Monday, the UN Security Council will vote on a resolution to allow the international body’s staff to monitor the evacuations in the hope they can contiune without further hold ups. The draft resolution was the result of a compromise between Russia and France, and the US said it was expected to pass unanimously.