A newborn baby, born amid the ruins after the recent earthquake in Syria, at the children’s hospital in the city of Afrin, in Syria’s Aleppo province, February 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Ghaith Alsayed)

BEIRUT (AP) — A baby born under the ruins of his family’s home after last week’s powerful earthquake in northern Syria was in good condition on Monday after the wife of the director of the hospital where he happens to have breastfed him, his doctor reported.

The little girl, nicknamed Aya – “sign of God” in Arabic – by hospital staff, could be released on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to her great-uncle Saleh al-Badran. She said the baby’s paternal aunt, who survived the earthquake and recently gave birth, will raise him.

The baby’s mother died after giving birth shortly after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Syria and Turkey. His father and four brothers also died in the earthquake.

Dr Hani Maarouf, a pediatrician at Cihan Hospital in Afrin, northern Syria, told The Associated Press that the hospital director’s wife was breastfeeding the baby.

“We already stopped giving all the medicine we used to give Aya and now they breastfeed her when she needs it,” Maarouf said by phone.

Maarouf said local police were standing guard at the hospital to make sure no one came to kidnap the baby, after several people arrived trying to pose as relatives of the girl.

Rescuers discovered the baby more than 10 hours after the February 6 quake, while digging through the ruins of the five-story apartment building where the family lived in the northern Syrian town of Jinderis.

The baby was under a pile of concrete and was still attached to the umbilical cord with his mother, Afraa Abu Hadiya. The baby was rushed to hospital in Afrin, where he has since been treated.

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