The liberation of most of the province of Deir ez-Zour from ISIS occupation has allowed the gradual return of public services and security to large parts of the province. This effort to revive life in the province, particularly the rural areas outside the provincial capital, where hundreds of villages and settlements are scattered across Syria’s largest province, has been led mainly by the Deir ez-Zour Civil Council.
Under ISIS, these villages suffered in almost complete isolation, meaning that necessary supplies such food, water and electricity were incredibly scarce, which in turn led to extortionate prices for even the most basic goods and services.
Schools, meanwhile, were forced to close by the group, which had enforced their own curriculum in a bid to indoctrinate children and youth. The situation was exacerbated by the constant violence that characterised life under the so-called “Islamic Caliphate”.
The Deir ez-Zour Civil Council, however, has been attempting to revive these services and improve life for the thousands of villagers and town-dwellers living in the provinces. Just last month, the Deir ez-Zour Civil Council opened 319 schools serving the 105,000 children currently in the province.
The schools operating in Gharanij, al-Kishkiyah, and Albu Hamam are staffed with about 3,886 teachers and are the last schools to open in the areas. The reopening of schools has been occurring in the past few months since increased stability witnessed in SDF-held areas.
This came two months after a Centre of Education was opened in Kasrah to assist over 100 schools across Deir ez-Zour Province, as part of an initiative by UNICEF.
Now, the Civil Council has opened 18 institutes, set up to train teachers and improve educational standards in the province. In these institutes teachers receive training in teaching methods and other subjects such as Arabic, mathematics, language, arts, music, drawing and others.
Beyond this, the Civil Council opened six municipalities in order to coordinate and direct public services in the western and the eastern countryside of the Deir ez-Zour Province. Despite the lack of support and resources, the people of Deir ez-Zour are striving to improve life for those in their community.