Shelling Renders Rural Hama’s Schools Out Of Service
Targeting the vital civil centers and infrastructure, the ongoing shelling since the onset of February in the western and northern rural parts of Hama has rendered the majority of the areas’ schools and educational centers out of service and triggered thousands of students to drop out, given that a batch of them were displaced from the area in sync with the shelling.
On February 26, the Hama Education Directorate has officially suspended attendance at schools in the two education compounds of western and northern rural Hama after the ongoing shelling campaign that the regime’s forces conducted, in addition to the population’s displacement, for more than half of the area’s residents have left their homes.
Adnan al-Aboud, a school teacher in al-Ghab Plain, told Enab Baladi that the school where he taught was closed down due to security deterioration, pointing out that it used to offer its services to about 390 students, who are now out of the education system.
Al-Adnan added that a number of teachers have lately been seeking to find safer places to provide lessons, but the problem that faced them was the students who have been displaced with their families from al-Ghab Plain to areas that are not being shelled, demanding that the concerned relief entities address this matter and try to find solutions.
Zakaraya al-Khalid, a father of four children, who are all at school age, spoke about his suffering due to closing Hama’s schools down.
“Under these difficult circumstances endured by the area, I cannot send my children to school, for their presence at home is not safe, not to mention sending them to school,” he told Enab Baladi.
What scares Zakaraya the most, given that he lives in the village of the al-Sharia in western rural Hama, is that the current state of affairs might continue as thus for a long time, especially since his children have been absent from school for many years before because of the security situation in rural Hama and have returned to school only this year.
“After my children joined classes for five months in a row and managed to reach an adequate level, they are now out of school again because of the last attack,” he added.
Damage That Befell Hama Schools In Figures
The Free Hama Education Directorate pointed out that the suspension of attendance has covered all schools at the two educational compounds in western and northern rural Hama. Schools would be closed for 10 days, which can be extended based on security conditions.
Hussain Hashem, head of the Certificates Documentation Department of the Directorate, told Enab Baladi that 30 schools are shut down in the western complex, which includes the villages of al-Ghab Plain, starting from the Qalaat al-Madiq so far as the village of Zayzoun, while all schools in the northern parts were closed down, including those in several villages and cities, such as Murak, Kafr Zita and al-Lataminah.
The number of students in both parts, northern and western, is about six thousand students, who have all been affected by the temporary closure of the area’s schools, according to Hashem.
Hussain al-Hashem holds accountable all the entities concerned with the protection of children, their rights in education and life, considering that they did not take action to support the civilians and the children, who are the victims of the latest shelling that targeted the area.
The forces of the Syrian regime have escalated the shelling, with which they are targeting the two rural parts of Hama, early in February, knowing that these areas are within the parameters of the de-militarized area, agreed upon by Russia and Turkey on September 17, 2018.
The demilitarized area is 15km deep in Idlib and 20km in the al-Ghab Plain in western rural Hama, and it is the area that separates the Syrian regime-held areas from those controlled by the opposition there.
Despite the deal, the governorate is yet enduring a state of tension against the background of the attacks and the ongoing shelling exchanged between the Assad’s forces and the opposition factions, resulting in many civilian casualties and the displacement of a massive number of the area’s people.
Issued on February 21, the statistics of the Syrian Civil Defense organization point out that the death toll of the shelling that targeted the areas mentioned above during that last campaign is 35 persons,11 women and 13 children included, in addition to the injury of no less than 75 persons, including nine women and 22 children.
In a statement published on February 20, the Response Coordinators team stated that 7526 families were displaced from the demilitarized area, pointing out that the number of villages that have so far accommodated the IDPs is 66 village, town and camp.