Thousands of children due to start the school year in northwestern Syria may not have access to education due to the latest escalation in violence and the Assad regime’s and Russian bombing campaign which has been ongoing for over four months, the aid group Save the Children said.
Out of the 1,193 schools in the area, 635 continue to be operational, while 353 have been abandoned or damaged and 205 are used as collective shelters, the NGO said in a report issued on Wednesday.
“As the new school year starts, the remaining functional schools can only accommodate up to 300,000 of the 650,000 school-age children.”
“Teachers are telling us that parents are pleading with them to shut schools for fear of them being attacked,” Sonia Khush, Save the Children’s Syria country director, said in a statement. “How can the international community stand by.”
“Many children are dealing with losing their homes, loss and grief. They should not have to fear losing their lives whilst they try to learn.”
In early August, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres agreed to a request by two-thirds of the UN Security Council member States for an international inquiry into attacks on civilian facilities in northwestern Syria.
Education in the liberated areas, especially in Idlib province, faces many difficulties, most notably the Assad regime and Russia’s direct targeting of educational facilities and the insufficient support provided by organizations, which causes an increasing number of school dropouts. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)