Syrian girl blogger, 7, meets Erdogan at Ankara palace

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Syrian girl Bana Alabed, known as Aleppo’s tweeting girl, at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey. (REUTERS)
Updated 21 December 2016
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Syrian girl blogger, 7, meets Erdogan at Ankara palace

ANKARA: Seven-year-old Bana Al-Abed, whose Twitter account gave a tragic description of the bombing of Aleppo in Syria, on Wednesday met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at his palace in Ankara. 
Erdogan received Bana and her family at his palace, the state-run Anadolu agency said, publishing a picture of Erdogan hugging the girl.
A video published by the agency also showed a seated Erdogan holding Bana and an unidentified boy sitting on his knees, flanked by his wife Emine.
The young Syrian girl was one of thousands of people evacuated from once rebel-held areas of Aleppo in the last days under a deal brokered by Turkey and Russia.
She was evacuated on Monday and Turkish officials promised she would come to Turkey with her family. But it was not clear when she had crossed over.
For her 330,000 followers, Bana is a symbol of the tragedy unfolding in Syria, although Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime has slammed her and her mother’s nearly daily tweets as propaganda.
Turkey is hosting some 2.7 million refugees from the Syria conflict but has made clear it now prefers to look after those recently displaced, who are not injured, on the Syrian side of the border.
However it makes exceptions for special cases and the wounded.


Palestinians protest in Ramallah over Gaza sanctions

Updated 18 min 45 sec ago
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Palestinians protest in Ramallah over Gaza sanctions

  • Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated Saturday in the occupied West Bank to demand the Palestinian Authority lift punitive measures against the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
  • Demonstrators in Ramallah chanted “scrap the sanctions!” during protests against the Palestinian Authority.

RAMALLAH: Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated Saturday in the occupied West Bank to demand the Palestinian Authority lift punitive measures against the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, an AFP reporter said.
Demonstrators in Ramallah chanted “scrap the sanctions!” during protests against the Palestinian Authority, organized by civil society groups.
The Ramallah-based administration has introduced a series of measures against Gaza over the past year.
Tens of thousands of its civil servants in the coastal enclave, separated from the West Bank by a strip of Israeli territory, have gone without full pay for months.
Critics say such moves by the PA, dominated by the Fatah movement of president Mahmud Abbas, further exacerbate the split between the two parts of the Palestinian territories.
The rally passed peacefully, unlike a protest on June 13 during which Palestinian security forces fired stun grenades and tear gas to disperse demonstrators.
On Saturday, policemen were seen handing out Palestinian flags to the protesters.
Hamas has run Gaza since seizing it from the Palestinian Authority amid deadly clashes in 2007.
Since that year, Israel has maintained a crippling blockade on Gaza which it argues is necessary to isolate Hamas.
Rights groups say the siege amounts to collective punishment.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars in the territory since 2008.
Neighbouring Egypt has also largely sealed its land border with Gaza in recent years, citing security threats.
The United Nations has said Gaza, which is home to two million people, will be uninhabitable by 2020.
Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement last October, but it has since collapsed.