Bana Alabed visits Syrian boy who lost legs in bombing
CNN — Two days after losing his legs in the bombing of a Syrian village, a 10-year-old boy received a special visitor Saturday at his hospital bedside.
Bana Alabed, the 7-year-old girl whose Twitter updates during last year’s brutal siege of Aleppo drew global attention, tweeted a video of herself meeting Abdel Basit Al-Satouf at a hospital in Turkey and taking the boy gifts.
“Yeeeeeeeeeeeees I am very happy, I’m meeting (Abdel Basit) the Syrian boy who lost both legs to bombing,” she said.
In the video, Bana hugs Abdel Basit as best she can, speaks to him and rubs his elbow. “My friends,” she says, as she looks directly at the camera, “please help the children of Syria. We will go to school. We will go to play. The war will not stop us. We strong.”
The boy looks sad as he lays his hands on sheets that cover the stumps where his legs used to be. He looks over at the gifts, then to his caregivers but remains mostly quiet as Bana speaks with him.
Both children now find themselves in Turkey, displaced from their homes by Syria’s almost 6-year-long civil war.
Bana has lived in Turkey since she and her family fled the besieged eastern portion of Aleppo in December.
Abdel Basit was moved Friday by aid workers to the hospital in Hatay province after his condition improved, said Mustafa Ozbek, a spokesman for the Humanitarian Relief Foundation.
The aid organization also tweeted a picture of Bana’s visit.
The boy was initially treated at a hospital in Syria’s Idlib province, according to a photo posted by Syrian opposition activists.
A video circulated by the activists on social media showed him lying amid thick clouds of smoke, screaming in agony. “Baba, carry me, baba!” he cries out, unable to stand, his legs blown off at the knee.
The airstrike on the small village of al-Habit was one of 10 attacks to hit the southern countryside of Idlib on Thursday. The UK-based monitoring network Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports five people died in the attacks.
The boy’s mother and sister were among them, it said.
The monitoring group said the barrel bomb attack came from Syrian army warplanes. CNN cannot independently verify claims of the origin of the attack. There’s been no comment from the Syrian regime or Syrian state media.
Since 2015, Idlib has been under rebel-control and is currently covered by a nationwide ceasefire deal brokered by Russia and Turkey in December. The ceasefire requires the Syrian government to halt military operations against anyone who isn’t affiliated with ISIS or other terror groups, state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported.
A 2016 report by Save the Children says barrel bombs, airstrikes and shelling are the biggest issues threatening the 250,000 children estimated to be living in besieged areas in Syria.