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Baby born and orphaned in Syria quake adopted by aunt, uncle

An infant child born
in northern Syria during this month’s devastating earthquakes has been reunited with her aunt and uncle, after her parents
and siblings died in the disaster.

Footage circulating widely on social media after the quake
showed a rescuer scrambling down a hill of rubble carrying a
tiny dust-covered baby.

The newborn was later identified as the child of Abdallah
and Afraa Mleihan, who died in the earthquakes along with their
other children in the opposition-run town of Jandaris in Syria’s
Aleppo province.

The infant was treated in the Jihan Hospital further west in
the Afrin district, also opposition-run, until medics could
verify the identities of her relatives.

On Saturday, her paternal aunt Hala and uncle by marriage
Khalil Al Sawadi finally picked up their niece — whom they named
Afraa, after her deceased mother.

“This girl means so much to us because there’s no-one left
of her family besides this baby. She’ll be a memory for me, for
her aunt and for all of our relatives in the village of her
mother and father,” Sawadi told the Reuters news agency.

He was carrying Afraa, wrapped in a pink blanket, in one arm
and his own newborn daughter Ataa, wrapped in blue, in the
other. Ataa was born three days after the earthquake and Sawadi
said he would raise them together.

“There were legal procedures to confirm the genetic
relation, as well as a DNA test,” he told Reuters.

Syria rescuers cut umbilical cord before pulling newborn alive from rubble

Thousands dead in Syria

More than 5,800 people have died across Syria as a result of the February 6 earthquakes, the bulk in the opposition-run north which had already suffered years of bombardment since conflict broke out in Syria in 2011.

The quake also left more than 40,000 dead in Türkiye.

Jandaris, where Sawadi lives, is one of the hardest-hit towns in the opposition-held parts of the north. 

Other children have been left orphaned there by the quake, after surviving years of bombardment in the nearly 12-year war ravaging Syria.

Regime-controlled cities have also been severely damaged. 

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