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10th Feb 2023

Thousands offer to adopt baby born under the rubble of Syria earthquake

Charlie Herbert

The newborn’s family all died in the natural disaster

Thousands of people have offered to adopt a baby girl was born under the rubble of a collapsed building following the devastating earthquakes in Syria.

Earlier this week, Turkey and Syria were hit by two major tremors of 7.8 and 7.5 magnitude.

As of Friday morning (February 10) more than 21,000 people have died, most of them in Turkey, with a major operation still underway to try and rescue those still trapped under the rubble.

Amid the devastation and tragedy of the disaster, one story in particular has captured the hearts of thousands – that of baby Aya

Footage went viral on social media this week of a newborn baby being rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building in north-west Syria.

The baby girl was still connected to her mother by her umbilical cord when she was rescued earlier this week.

Her mother, father and all four of her siblings died after the quake hit the town of Jindayris.

The newborn was then taken by a distant relative, Khalil al-Suwadi, to paediatrician Dr Hani Marouf in the Syrian city of Afrin.

“She arrived on Monday in such a bad state, she had bumps, bruises, she was cold and barely breathing,” said Dr Marouf.

He explained tha Aya’s mother, Afraa Abu Hadiya, probably gave birth to the girl and then died a few hours before they were discovered.

“We named her Aya, so we could stop calling her a new-born baby,” he was quoted as saying to The Guardian.

She has since been named Aya, the Arabic word for miracle, and is in a stable condition in hospital.

The story of her rescue made headlines around the world, and thousands have taken to social media to offer to adopt the baby girl.

“I would like to adopt her and give her a decent life,” said one person.

A Kuwaiti TV anchor said, “I’m ready to take care of and adopt this child… if legal procedures allow me to.”

“I wish someone knew how to reach the child. I am ready to adopt her and take care of her until the last minute of my life,” tweeted Paulina Queralt, a Lebanese singer living in France.

And hospital manager Khalid Attiah, says he has received dozens of calls from people all over the world wanting to adopt baby Aya.

But Dr Attiah, who himself has a daughter just four months older than her, has said he won’t be letting anyone adopt her anytime soon.

He said: “I won’t allow anyone to adopt her now. Until her distant family return, I’m treating her like one of my own.”

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