On Feb. 16, an orphaned newborn named Aya was safely moved after armed men broke into the hospital where she was receiving care.
With her family killed by the devastating quake that struck Syria last week, there is only hope that someone will come to offer Aya the home she needs.
A miracle born
According to the BBC, a source told them that the Afrin Health Directorate made every attempt to safeguard Aya, whose name means “a sign of God” in Arabic. She had to be evacuated to a safer location due to possible kidnapping or adoption fraud.
After her home in the town of Jinderis was leveled by the recent quake, Aya was born beneath the rubble. Tragically, her mother died, along with Aya’s father, all of her siblings and an aunt. The baby was still connected to her mother by her umbilical cord when she was saved by rescuers. Her rescue was captured in footage posted to Twitter.
She was safely moved to the Jehan Hospital in Afrin — located in northwest Syria — by a relative, Khalil al-Suwadi. There, she was nursed back to health after she survived the ordeal without major injuries. The hospital’s manager, Khalid Attiah, said his wife breastfed Aya as they are raising their own four-month-old daughter.
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Thousands of people raised their voices wishing to adopt little Aya after hearing of her harrowing story. However, the directorate wished to focus on her health and move slowly with the adoption process, a source familiar with the matter said.
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On Feb. 14, the facility’s director suspected that a nurse was taking pictures of Aya, and believed she was planning to kidnap her. The nurse was promptly removed from the hospital afterwards. Hours later, the nurse returned with two gunmen who beat up the director.
The gunmen told police officers that they were only after the director and not Aya, an official said.
However, the head of the health directorate, Dr. Ahmad Haji Hassan, denied claims on social media that it was a failed attempt to kidnap Aya.
“The kidnap allegations were a misunderstanding. This was a wholly internal hospital-related issue and had no connection whatsoever with the baby,” he told the BBC.
There were also reports of several people masquerading as relatives of Aya’s, who were stopped by the police who were guarding her.
Two massive earthquakes struck both Syria and Turkey on Feb. 6, killing upwards of 41,000 and injuring thousands more. The first quake — one of the largest ever recorded in Turkey — toppled an untold number of buildings.
Twelve hours after the first quake struck, the second quake of magnitude 7.5 hit Turkey’s Elbistan district of Kahramanmaras province.
Jinderis, located close to the Turkish border, was one of the towns worst hit by the quakes, with 200 buildings destroyed.
The White Helmets — responsible for leading the search and rescue operations in opposition-held areas — reported that 517 bodies have been found in the destruction.
Hospitals in Aleppo are also being flooded by countless new victims, with not enough beds or resources to attend to all the injured.