In a letter written to President Trump several days before his inauguration, Bana — currently living in Turkey after her family escaped Aleppo in December — requests Trump's help and promises her friendship in return.
“Can you please save the children and people of Syria?” the letter states, according to NBC News. “You must do something for the children of Syria because they are like your children and deserve peace like you.”
“If you promise me you will do something for the children of Syria, I am already your new friend,” the letter adds.
Considered by many the Anne Frank of the Syrian civil war, Bana began using social media in September to document her harrowing struggle to stay alive in one of the world's most deadly conflict zones. Her tweets captured the mundane and the macabre, from fleeting moments of happiness reading Harry Potter books with her younger siblings to videos showing the little girl cowering beside a bed as the sounds of warfare approach.
“Someone save me,” she said.
The Washington Post's Caitlin Gibson reported in December that shortly after Bana's mother, an English teacher named Fatemah, started the Twitter account “Bana — a petite child with long dark hair, big brown eyes and a lilting voice — quickly became the newest symbol for the horrors unfolding in Syria.”
Some questioned whether the little girl was real, but Gibson reported that Fatemah has explained that the family relied on a cellphone and a solar-powered charger to post updates on social media, where they were retweeted thousands of times by people all over the world.
On several occasions, Bana disappeared without warning from social media, leading the little girl's followers to tweet anxiously under the hashtag #WhereIsBana.
In one such instance in early December, Bana's account reappeared with a heartbreaking message: “Under attack. Nowhere to go, every minute feels like death,” Fatemah tweeted. “Pray for us.” They were alive; their story continued.
Gibson noted that it wasn’t the first time the family had been close to death:
“Dear world, we are dying,” Fatemah wrote Oct. 24, appended to a video of a black sky reverberating with explosions. “Last message — under heavy bombardments now, can’t be alive anymore,” she tweeted Nov. 27. “When we die, keep talking for 200,000 still inside.”
CNN reported that Bana's family went into hiding in the following weeks before resurfacing with a tweet announcing that they had escaped from eastern Aleppo.
“When we got out we had a lot of suffering because we stayed almost 24 hours in bus without water and food or anything … like a prisoner,” Fatemah told the pro-opposition media organization Qasioun News, according to CNN.
“But finally we arrived here, and we thank God and all our friends who are supporting us.”
Not long after the family's arrival, they got a chance to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the presidential palace in Ankara, which led to a photo op that resembled propaganda to some observers.
The visit raised questions for some about whether the girl was being used by pro-rebel forces backed by Erdogan, who has repeatedly called for the ouster of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.
The Turkish president has also called Twitter “the worst menace to society” when it was used by Turkish protesters in 2014. He has gone as far as blocking the platform on several occasions, despite his own account having more than 9 million followers.
“It’s always a question of whether a 7-year-old is being used as a propaganda tool, and if so, by whom,” Jane E. Kirtley, a professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota, told the New York Times in December. “Sometimes we fall in love with a concept and basically ignore things that would undermine that concept, and ignore things that should be red flags.”
She added, “For me, my antenna always goes up when the story is this compelling.”
In recent weeks, Bana's Twitter has been filled with images of the little girl and her siblings living peacefully, enjoying time outdoors and smiling for their mother's camera.