'Don't forget them': Bana Alabed, 7, asks Theresa May to help Syrian children

Nadia Khomami
Bana Alabed, whose Twitter account has chronicled the realities of life under siege. Photograph: Umit Bektas/Reuters

Bana Alabed, the seven-year-old girl whose tweets offered a glimpse into the violence and loss in besieged east Aleppo, has called on Theresa May to help Syrian children at risk of losing their lives in the country’s ongoing civil war.

Bana tweeted an image of the letter to the British prime minister, which she said had been written with her mother’s help.

“I am looking for help for the suffering of the people of Syria,” it said. “Can you send them medicine, doctors, water and milk? Have you seen the young children who are weak and dying because of hunger? I have seen them. They live if we give only food but no one cares. I am very sad.”

Bana has gained hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter and become a symbol of the tragedy in Syria. Her account chronicles the realities of life under siege, featuring pictures of the destruction of a once teeming metropolis, including those of her own rubble-littered street.

After Aleppo fell back under government control in December, Bana and her family were evacuated to Turkey; they met the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, just before Christmas.

Bana has gone on to write letters to various leaders, including an open letter to Donald Trump in January, in which she pleaded with the US president to “do something for the children of Syria”. Last week, she shared a letter she wrote to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, telling them to “stop the bombing now” and “go to jail for killing my friends”.

According to UN estimates, at least 15,000 children are among more than 300,000 people who have been killed in Syria’s six-year civil war, with thousands of others displaced. The Syrian Network For Human Rights reported that nearly 2,000 children were among the estimated 16,913 civilians who died in 2016 alone.

But the UK Foreign Office has previously said British aircraft were at risk of being shot down if they were used to drop aid to Aleppo.

Last week, the UN accused the Syrian government of deliberately attacking an aid convoy near Aleppo last September, and labelled a forced evacuation of opposition-held parts of the east of the city as a “war crime”.

It came a day after Russia used its veto for a seventh time to protect Syria from UN security council sanctions over allegations of chemical weapons use.

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