After intensive shelling in the battle to re-capture rebel-held territory in Greater Idlib, schools have been left destroyed and tens of thousands of children have nowhere safe to learn.
After warplanes targeted almost 100 schools in the countryside of Idlib and Hama, around 100,000 students have been left without anywhere to learn. According to emergency response coordinators, the most recent military campaign launched by the Russian and Syrian governments has heavily impacted the region’s educational infrastructure.
One activist told reporters that the number of schools targeted by Russian and Syrian forces in Hama and Idlib since 5th February this year stands at around 91, including 34 schools in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, 13 in Kafr Nabl and 12 in Ariha.
The most recent bid to re-capture territory from rebels in the Greater Idlib area has caused 600,000 civilians to be displaced in the last few months alone, including more than 100,000 students who have left their schools to find themselves homeless, living in refugee camps, or in the few villages and towns that have not yet been targeted in the Syrian regime’s offensive, near the Syrian-Turkish border.
As a result of the shelling by Russian and Syrian warplanes in the area, many children who have been displaced have struggled to find school places in their new areas, given that each school here has a limited capacity, and because new schools cannot be built at present.
One of the biggest problems impacting the process of attaining an education in Idlib is the lack of funding for educational institutions. This is a result of the Syrian Government’s Directorate of Education ending its support for schools following rebel capture of the province of Idlib. Some local councils and NGOs have resorted to providing alternative means of education, including in the areas of Maarat al-Numan, Saraqib, Salqeen, and Harem.
One teacher told Halab Today that schools are suffering from a lack of hardware and school supplies, with doors and windows also missing, calling on organisations to visit the destroyed schools and enable their rehabilitation so that the education process can return to normal.
There are fears that once the war in this part of Syria draws to a close, the catastrophic impacts of a generation without education and millions of schools that need rebuilding will come to the forefront.