Baby Aya, target of alleged kidnap attempts for ransom money, moved
Baby girl Aya was born under the rubble of the Turkey-Syria earthquake and was rescued with her umbilical cord still attached to her dead mother in the Syrian town of Jendiris.
Baby girl Aya, who was born under the rubble of the Turkey-Syria earthquake, has been the target of kidnap attempts by militants, which prompted the Afrin Health Directorate to take the precautionary measure of moving the girl to protect her from possible kidnapping and adoption fraud, a source told the BBC.
A male nurse, accompanied by two armed men, reportedly beat the manager.
However, the head of the Health Directorate, Dr. Ahmad Hajj Hassan, denied claims on social media that it was an 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.
As a precautionary measure, she was moved to a "safe location" by a health authority.
This comes as thousands of people offered to adopt the baby last week after her story went viral.
In Jindires, in the countryside of Afrin, northeast Syria, a baby girl takes her first breath surrounded by the destruction after her mother went into labor during the earthquake, gave birth to her, and bid her farewell.
The girl was named Aya, meaning "a sign from God" in Arabic. Her father and brothers were also killed in the earthquake.
Thousands of people have offered to adopt the baby girl who was born under the rubble of a collapsed building in north-west Syria, following Monday's earthquake— Worldfocus Blog (@WorldfocusBlog) February 10, 2023
When she was rescued, baby Aya - meaning miracle in Arabic - was still connected to her mother by her umbilical cord pic.twitter.com/71FL8xCBXJ
Because all her family members died, her father's uncle promised he will take her home after she is released from the hospital. Salah Al-Badran was one of those severely affected by the earthquake, as his home was leveled in the earthquake, forcing him and his family to take shelter in a tent.
The footage of Aya's rescue quickly went viral on social media. The video shows a man rushing from the rubble of a four-story building, taking the dust-covered baby into his arms.
In the sub-zero weather, a second man hurries toward the first, holding a blanket for the newborn, as a third begs for a car to take her to the hospital.
The baby was sent to a hospital in the adjacent town of Afrin for treatment. She had scrapes and bruises, was cold, and was hardly breathing.
The bigger picture
Aya is only one of the scores of children who have lost their parents in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake. UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, stated that it has been monitoring unfortunate children like Aya, whose parents are missing or deceased, and is working with hospitals to find extended family members who may be able to care for them.
The situation is of particular concern in Syria, a country that already bears the agony of hundreds of thousands of unknown numbers of orphans due to the destructive war on the country.
Moreover, Damascus has been hit by more than a decade of US draconian sanctions and there have been calls for them to be lifted to facilitate the arrival of aid. The US has lately complied with international calls to lift Syria-related sanctions amid the aftermath of the earthquake, albeit temporarily.
A massive earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 Richter ripped through Syria on February 6, leading to more than over 6,000 deaths and thousands of injuries.