The story of Bana Al-Abed, daughter of Ghassan Al-Abed, became known worldwide since 2016. By that time a 7-years-old girl from Syrian Aleppo began to share in Twitter her “anxiety about living in a war-torn city”, continuously blaming the Syrian and Russian force for alleged bombing on so-called civilian headquarters.
Immediately after the appearance of Bana’s account, it gained headlines in all main international media, at the same time, it garnered harsh criticism: a lot of evidences proved that the girl’s account was fake or that she lies in her tweets. As the Syrian girl’s popularity grew, her image gained significant political influence, and was actively used to discredit the Syrian regime. Despite revelatory evidence, the little girl remains very active in social media, and her image is further used by the Western media for information campaigns.
SouthFront publishes an investigation carried out by one of our respected contributors, revealing new details of the life of Bana, her family and Al-Nusra Front.
We invite you to express your opinion in the comments.
Submitted by Khaled Iskef
Little Syrian girls Bana Al-Abed became a symbol of all children suffering from wars. The Western world traded with Bana’s story because of her family’s loyalty to the militant Islamic factions and her father’s affiliation with the Islamic elite brigades. Western media, including the American Times Magazine, report on her personal tragedy in the war.
Bana is spreading tweets about her life in the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo and talks about the widespread bombing operations. In his interview on Danish TV channel, President al-Assad was asked about Bana al-Abed. Prisedent Al Assad said that she is used for propaganda, and that terrorists use civilians as human shields, that Syrian forces must liberate them.
Fatima Al-Abd, Bana Al-Abed’s mother, was broadcasting in her daughter’s account from the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, indicating and describing the airstrikes carried out randomly and over civilian areas.
Bana and her mother in an interview with the BBC considered that the Twitter account is a weapon for changing the regime in Syria. In her tweets in English, she always talks about saving the children of Syria to gain public opinion.
The account is managed by her mother Fatima al-Abed, and her father Ghassan al-Abed has his own account, claiming that he is an independent lawyer working against terrorists.
Our investigation unveiled later that he is working with them.
We went to the house of the girl’s family, Bana Al-Abed, to search for the motives and background of this family. We found documents and drafts in the handwriting of Ghassan Al-Abed.
Ghassan Al-Abed worked in the local council of the Free City of Aleppo as a lawyer and director of the legal department and the civil registry belonging to HTS.
During the search, we found documents condemning Ghassan Al-Abed as a military trainer for the Islamic Safwa Brigade and an investigative judge for the Sharia Board during the control of ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front over Aleppo and the Sharia Board in particular.
His father owns a weapons repair and maintenance shop, and this shop is supervised by Ghassan Al-Abed. We also found an arrest warrant in 2008 against the brother and father of Ghassan Al-Abed Muhammad Al-Abd “on charges of smuggling weapons.”
The photo of Ghassan Al-Abed carrying a weapon with ISIS flag behind him.
The photo of the 3-year-old girl, Bana Al-Abed, carrying a weapon in her grandfather’s shop, which is supervised by her father, Ghassan Al-Abed.
The locals assured us that the area is under the control of Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda in the Levant, and that next to the home of the girl’s family, Bana al-Abed, is the headquarters of Jabhat al-Nusra.
On the spot, we discovered that there were about 25 headquarters of the Al-Nusra Front and the Abu Amara Brigade near the family’s home, and that these areas were safe haven for Al-Qaeda.
We compared Bana’s photo with reality to have tangible evidence.
The image above confirms that the place where the photo was taken is the place of her grandfather, Muhammad Al-Abd, where he was selling and maintaining weapons.
Following the instructions of her parents, Bana writes that she misses school that was destroyed by airstrikes, without mentioning that the school near the home of her family was transformed by armed groups to military headquarters.
We visited her school. The image and the angle confirmed that we found the right place. Months ago, we visited this building and for the first time and we discovered a document from Ayman al-Zawahiri to al-Baghdadi, al-Julani and Abu Khaled al-Suri in this building. It confirms that this building was transformed into the main headquarters of al-Qaeda in Aleppo, it was the transportation building.
We interrogated locals about who controlled this area in order to the documents that we found. We also asked them whether civilians were allowed to take photos in the territory under Al-Nusra Front control, given that the place where the child was photographed is only a few meters away the terrorist headquarters. The answer was negative. Witnesses confirmed that no one except the militants themselves was allowed to take photographs there.
It means that the Bana’s family is directly linked with Al-Qaeda, the Al-Nusra Front, according to the testimonies of local civilians.
In one of the live broadcasts of an interview with a Turkish media outlet, the girl was asked in English about the foods she likes in Turkey, so her answer was: “Save Syrian children!” It means that she could not speak English, and all her tweets were written by her mother.
We continued our investigation. After having completed our tour in the Al-Nusra Front headquarters, we went to the area and discovered that the Abu Amara Brigade, the security arm of the Al-Nusra Front, controlled the mall building as a detention center.
This headquarter was under command of Yasser Al-Abed, founder of the Abu Amara Brigade, and Muhanna Jafala (known as Abu Bakri). Yasser Al-Abed was arrested in 2012 on charges of terrorism and the killing of the two Aleppo businessmen Mahmoud Ramadan and Mahmoud Sourani. After a year and a half, he was released in a prisoners exchange deal with the Syrian army.
The following screenshot was made during his interview on Syrian government channel.
Ghassan Al-Abed used to visit this headquarters because Yasser Al-Abed is his relative.
A local civilian Abu Abdo Dalati was in his shop next to Ghassan al-Abed’s father’s shop for weapons maintenance. He told us about the military headquarters of the Al-Nusra Front and the Abu Amara Brigade, and he mentioned that what Ghassan al-Abed exploited his daughter in media in order to reach his goal, which is to please Erdogan and meet him. He actually reached his goal.
We also discovered that Bana’s mother changed her name to her husband’s surname. According to the document that we found in her house said that her real name is Fatima Shihan. She was affected by her husband who belongs to the Free Army and then Al-Nusra Front, in order not to be known by her relatives, as her uncle was a member of the Baath Party, the legitimate ruling party in Syria.
Bana Al-Abed sent letters to the author of the Harry Potter story, JK Rollins, who released a book about the life of this Syrian girl.
There were attempts to prevent the book from being published in order to convict the author to show the truth about this family, but they were unsuccessful.
A picture of a report found on the Internet confirms that the Bana’s Twitter account was opened in London in 2016 during the siege of Aleppo. The question is how to open the account with no web connection in the eastern neighborhoods of the city of Aleppo.
We are not against childhood; we are not accusing the child Bana Al-Abed. Like other children, she is a victim of exploitation by her family in order to pursue terrorist interests. Our goal is to tell this story from an angle different from MSM’s one and to unveil the truth. We seek to show how children are exploited and their stories are distorted in order to defend terrorism, to support them under the pretext of defending Syrian children.
We talk about it with impartiality, accuracy and objectivity.
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