Incredible Story of the Al Khateeb family in Eastern Ghouta, Syria
It's 10 Feb 2018, Narissa Subramoney is at the desk at eNCA. She picks up a tweet from 10 year old Noor Al Khateeb inside Ghouta. This was the beginning of a relationship based on humanity between a seasoned journalist and what could possibly be described as the youngest war correspondent from Syria. Videos and tweets of the horrific situation inside Ghouta, the constant attack of civilians, hospitals, the marketplace and eventually the home of the Al Khateeb family were being sent from a young Syrian girl and her inspirational mother, Shams, and younger sister, Alaa (8), all who spoke English, to Narissa on a regular basis. eNCA has broadcasted several of those videos and voice messages.
On 23 February Narissa contacted Gift of the Givers for possible intervention in an area under blockade for five years. On 26 February Gift of the Givers intervened and on 28 February the first medical supplies, flour, meat and milk powder was purchased inside Ghouta at astronomical cost. But the situation was rapidly deteriorating as Assad's bombing and troops came closer. A deal was reached with the Russians for safe passage of civilians out of certain areas of Ghouta. On Easter Friday, 30 March, Shams and her family reach Hama around 1pm. Gift of the Givers has a driver waiting for the family but unprecedented media interest in the family delays the journey to the Gift of the Givers Ar Rahma Hospital in Darkoush by three hours. At 8pm they arrive, are received warmly and generously by Dr Ahmad Ghandour, head of the Hospital, and by the management.The family is accommodated at Dr Ghandour's home. It was the sweetest sleep they had in years. On 31 March representatives of the Turkish Red Crescent contact Dr Ghandour. The Al Khateeb family is stunned by the request. The Turkish President Erdogan has offered to meet the family, grant them Turkish residency, provide a home and take care of them. That same evening the family is granted safe passage across the Syrian-Turkish border and on 1 April at 4pm they are received by the president at a football stadium in Hatay. Days of prayers have been answered, the family's harrowing situation has improved dramatically but the tweets won't cease. They will continue campaigning for assistance for the millions inside Syria.
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