Bana Alabed – whose Twitter posts documenting the horrors of living through the government’s assault on eastern Aleppo caught Rowling’s attention – was rescued as part of an evacuation deal that saw the remaining residents of the former rebel enclave head to other parts of the country.
“I escaped from East #Aleppo,” the seven-year-old tweeted after arriving in Rashidin, an area west of Aleppo. Her post was re-tweeted by the Harry Potter author. Bana’s mother Fatemah set up and began operating the Twitter account in September, tweeting on her daughter’s behalf. She sent out messages to Rowling, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Earlier this year Ms Alabed sent a message to Rowling asking how her daughter could get hold of the Potter novels, as she was “reading to forget the war”.
The writer then sent an ebook to Bana. Ms Alabed posted an image of Bana holding a piece of card with the words “Thank you my friend JK Rowling for the books” and added: “Love you from Aleppo – Bana”
“Love you too, Bana! Thinking of you, keep safe”, Rowling replied. They later tweeted to say their home had been destroyed. Bana tweeted: “Tonight we have no house, it’s bombed & I got in rubble. I saw deaths and I almost died.”