The directorate of education in Idlib province on Sunday announced schools were temporarily closed in Idlib city and the town of Ariha as a result of the danger posed by the constant, indiscriminate bombardment by regime forces and their allies.
All schools in Idlib and Arhia will be closed from Monday to Wednesday to ensure the safety of schoolchildren, the directorate said in a statement.
The announcement came in the wake of brutal aerial bombardment by regime forces on Idlib and Arhia that left dozens of civilians killed and injured on Saturday.
The intensified airstrikes by regime forces followed remarks made by the UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura that Russia “formally” requested that the Assad regime to stop aerial attacks during the current round of talks in Geneva. The airstrikes also came despite the ceasefire agreement still in place.
According to the directorate, a total of 160 schools across Idlib province have been put out of service as a result of bombardment by regime forces and their allies over the past year, while 134 schools have been damaged. At least 370 schoolchildren and teachers have been killed in the same period.
A report released by the UNICEF in July said that since the start of the conflict in 2011, UNICEF has verified more than 4,000 attacks on schools. One quarter of all schools no longer function because they are either damaged, destroyed or used as shelters for families fleeing violence. Syria’s education sector has lost more than 52,000 teachers. The country has lost two decades of educational progress.
More than two million Syrian children have had to drop out of school because of displacement caused by the fighting, destruction or closure of schools, and shortages of teachers, UNICEF added. Many children also leave school when one or both of their parents get killed by fighting, when they are separated from family members, when they are forced into work to support their families, and when girls are forced into early marriages, often by parents who hope this will help keep them safe from violence. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)