5 children killed in Syrian school bombing on New Year’s Day

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5 children aged 6 and 13 were killed on New Year’s Day when their school, run by Syria Relief, was hit by artillery. News outlets report that 4 adults were also killed by the attack in Sarmin, Idlib. 12 children were injured by the bomb, amongst the adults injured, two teachers were injured, one of whom has had to have their leg amputated. The school hit is run by Syria Relief and the injured teachers are Syria Relief staff.

913 children are currently out of education because of the damage done to the Syria Relief school and the trauma they are suffering from Wednesday’s incident.

As well as working to help get the students back in education, Syria Relief are helping with the medical treatment, visiting the families of those killed and working to provide psychological support for children affected by the incident

Eye-witnesses claim that it was a cluster bomb which it landed at 11:44am on Wednesday January 1st, 100m from the school.

This is the 6th school of Syria Relief’s to have fallen victims of military action since the start of the Idlib offensive on April 30th, 2019. Syria Relief are the largest NGO provider of education in Syria, running 159 schools across the country.

In September, Syria Relief launched a report entitled ‘No School To Back To’ which detailed the impact of deliberate targeting of schools is having on Syrian children and the Syrian economy. The report found that:

• Areas that have had schools targeted experience temporary strikes in illiteracy

• The targeting of schools makes a political settlement to the police close to impossible, as it embitters the population to the forces who choose to flout international law through the destruction of school

• Girls and children with disabilities are put at a greater disadvantage, due to the tendency of regressive attitudes to prevail when children are out of education

• Teachers and children are attending school less, due to fear that the classroom is no longer safe due to the bombing campaign

• NGO resources are being spent on trying to address the huge need for psychosocial support for the thousands of children suffering from mental trauma that comes from growing up in a war zone, to tackle the increasing likelihood that children will fall out of school and struggle to learn at the same pace as other children, due to severe trauma

A statement by Charles Lawley, Syria Relief’s Head of Advocacy and Public Relations, states:

“It is with a great sadness that we must announce that another one of our schools was hit on New Year’s Day, killing five of our children. Unfortunately, our hopes for 2020 to be the year where the suffering of the Syrian people stops feels like they have already been dashed, as we have started the year with five young lives extinguished by this awful, merciless conflict.

“Two of the victims were six-years-old, the others were nine, eleven and thirteen. None of these children will have had a memory of life in Syria before this conflict. Now they will not know a Syria after the conflict. These were lives consumed by this war and taken by this war. Wishing others a “happy new year” rings hollow today, there is nothing happy about this year for the people of Idlib.”

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