Gunmen stormed a hospital in northern Syria, in an attempt to kidnap the newborn girl named ‘Aya’ rescued in rubble resulting from the devastating earthquake that hit the country last week.
The hospital official said the attackers beat the clinic’s director where the miracle baby is receiving care, the Independent reported on Tuesday.
The official denied reports on social media claiming that the attack overnight was an attempt to kidnap the infant, named Aya — Arabic for “a sign from God.”
Aya has been at the hospital hours after the first earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria, in which her mother died after giving birth to her in the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that the two nations.
The baby was rescued still having her umbilical cord attached when found, in a quake that also killed her father and four siblings.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said the hospital’s director had suspected that a nurse who was taking pictures of Aya was planning to kidnap her and kicked him out of the hospital.
According to the report, the nurse returned hours later accompanied by gunmen who beat up the director. The director’s wife has been breast-feeding Aya.
Upon arrival at the hospital, the gunmen told local police officers protecting the girl that they were going after the director for firing their friend. They said they were not interested in Aya, according to the official.
Several people had shown up falsely claiming to be Aya’s relatives, prompting local policemen to guard her.
Aya may be able to leave the hospital as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday, according to her great-uncle, Saleh al-Badran. He said the baby’s paternal aunt, who recently gave birth and survived the quake will raise her.
Rescue workers in the northern Syrian town of Jinderis discovered the dark-haired baby girl more than 10 hours after the quake hit, as they were digging through the wreckage of the five-story apartment building where her parents lived.