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Aleppo family says goodbye on Twitter

LONDON – A 7-year-old Syrian girl, who has captured international attention tweeting about daily life in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, shared a message late Sunday night that her house had been bombed.

“Tonight we have no house, it’s bombed and I got in rubble. I saw deaths and I almost died,” Bana Alabed tweeted.

On Monday, her mother posted an update saying the family was on the run.

Syrian regime forces launched a long-threatened ground assault in Aleppo on Saturday, wresting control of a number of northeastern neighborhoods from rebels – effectively driving a wedge through the eastern part of the city.

Retaking eastern Aleppo would mark the biggest victory for the Syrian regime since the uprising began over five years ago.

Bana’s mother Fatemah told CNN their home took a direct hit on Sunday evening, forcing them into the street to wait for the planes to go and shelling to cease.

Fatemah, 26, created the Twitter account for her daughter in late September to “share our life here to the world” as the Syrian army launched a major offensive to recapture Aleppo.

“Last message — under heavy bombardments now, can’t be alive anymore. When we die, keep talking for 200,000 still inside. BYE,” Fatemah tweeted on Sunday night before posting a picture of her daughter Bana, who appeared to be covered in dust.

The tweet references the estimated 200,000 civilians still living under siege in eastern Aleppo.

The activist-run SMART News Agency said Sunday airstrikes hit the al-Shaar neighborhood, where Bana’s family live, injuring at least five people.

Footage shared by SMART News Agency purported to show people in al-Shaar being carried away from the scene in the aftermath.

Fatemah told CNN via Twitter direct message that her children – Mohamed, 5, Noor, 3, and Bana – were not injured in the strikes and they sought shelter in a nearby house later on Sunday evening.

Hundreds of civilians have fled Aleppo’s rebel-held east since the assault this weekend.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said the number of civilians fleeing the city was in the thousands.

The Syrian army told state-run SANA news agency that its units had secured departure routes for 1,500 people from eastern Aleppo to regime-held areas on Sunday.

On Monday, Bana tweeted asking for people’s prayers amid fresh bombardments.

Intense artillery fire by regime forces continued to target al-Shaar neighborhood on Monday, activists Aleppo Media Center reported.

“Under heavy bombardments now. In between death and life now, please keep praying for us,” Bana said in a tweet.

A local Aleppo activist said on Twitter that he did not know anything regarding the whereabouts of Bana and her family but “their neighbourhood is being targeted heavily.”

A few hours later, Fatemah tweeted the family was “on the run.”

“We are on the run as many people killed right now in heavy bombardments. We are fighting for our lives. Still with you,” Fatemah said.