Indiscriminate shelling by the Syrian regime's forces has led schools in Jisr Shughur and across Idlib to close down for fear of putting children's lives at risk.
While the Syrian Civil War looks to be approaching its final stages, conflict, violence and terror is still a daily occurrence for the people of Idlib. Repeated shelling and air-strikes by the Syrian Government on Idlib and northern Hama has caused destruction on an unprecedented scale in the Greater Idlib area. The situation has been made worse as Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) tighten their stranglehold on the province and make life for civilians more unbearable.
The town of Jisr al-Shughur in northern Idlib, on the main route between Latakia to the west and Aleppo Province to the northeast, is one of the urban centres in the province that has been impacted by the violence. On April 2015, the town was overrun by extremist militants including Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate that would later evolve into the group currently known as HTS, and the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP).
The town was initially a stronghold of the TIP, although since 2017, HTS has been growing in prominence and has asserted its authority. Since then, the Syrian Government and its allies have placed the town under almost constant bombardment, destroying its infrastructure and forcing many of its residents to flee to other areas of the province.
As a result of the shelling and violence, schools have been shut down in the town, forcing hundreds of children out of an education. “For fear over the children’s lives, parents called on the educational complex to suspend schools until the end of this week,” said a member of staff who has been working at the main school complex for decades.
In addition to this complex, the secondary schools of Rokaya and Haj Yahya were also targeted in a neighbourhood of the town that is said to be almost completely destroyed. This is just one of many incidents where education has suffered as a result of the violence in the country.