Regime attacks take toll on education in Syria's Idlib

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Regime attacks take toll on education in Syria's Idlib

Attacks on civilian areas by the Assad regime and Iran-backed terrorist groups have adversely affected education in the Idlib de-escalation zone in northwestern Syria, a local education official said Monday. "Educational activities in districts such as Khan Sheikhoun, Marratinuman and Saraqib have been suspended due to the continued attacks," Mustafa Hajj Ali, a spokesman for Idlib’s Education Directorate, said.

"These attacks have resulted in the death of seven students and the injury of 40 others," he said.

Noting that 334 schools and education centers in civilian areas of southern Idlib had been temporarily closed, Hajj Ali asserted that some 80,000 students had been deprived of education as a consequence of the violence. 

He added that a number of schools in Khan Sheikhoun and in the towns of Cercenaz, Tuh and Kafranbel had been partially damaged.

Firas Abbas, a fifth-grader from Idlib now taking shelter at a camp near the Turkish border, said he was tired of his education being interrupted by incessant attacks.

"We can't go to school anymore. We fled from the attacks, leaving our pens, notebooks and bags at home,” he said.

Seventh-grader Mohamed Tahsen said: "We can't go to school due to the ongoing violence. Everybody has left; a friend of mine was killed in the attacks." 

Since Jan. 1, the Assad regime and Iran-backed terrorist groups have repeatedly violated the Sochi agreement, which prohibits acts of aggression in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

Over the same period, regime attacks have left at least 105 civilians dead and more than 300 injured.

An estimated 25,000 families have been forced to flee their homes since Turkey and Russia signed the agreement in hopes of cementing a ceasefire in war-weary Idlib.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected severity.