After two of our schools became the latest victims of air strikes last week, we are making a desperate plea. We are asking all involved in the ongoing conflict to recognise that schools are not legitimate military targets and have called for further measures to protect them from violence. Both the schools that were hit are based in Idlib, and at least 9 people, including an 11-year old girl, are known to have been killed and numerous children have been injured. We are still working to get the exact number of killed, injured and overall damage.
Last week’s incidents means that four of the 53 schools that Syria Relief run have now been hit by aerial bombardment since May this year. As a result of the ongoing violence in Idlib, we are temporarily moving education projects to home-based activities due to fears of child and teacher safety at schools.
Othman Moqbel, Chief Executive of Syria Relief, says:
“Here in the UK, children are no longer at school due to the summer holidays. Whilst in Syria, hundreds and thousands of children have no school to go due to them being destroyed and those that do fear they will become a target whilst in class. We are nearly into the ninth year of the Syrian conflict and children keep paying the highest price in this crisis, being exposed to a variety of severe protection risks and being deprived of their right to education. The crisis in Syria is still very much a protection crisis, impacting each-and-every Syrian, but mostly children as proven by the recent events in Idlib.
“It is a tragedy that we even have to ask this, but we are asking all parties involved in the Syrian conflict, again, to commit to halting any child rights violations and attacks on schools, and we ask that they work harder to prevent them from being treated as legitimate military targets. Schools are not a target. Children are not a target.
“We plead with all actors; please stop bombing schools. Targeting schools is against the Geneva Convention, it is against International Humanitarian Law and it is against International Human Rights Law. It cannot go on. It does not just kill children and steal them of an education, but Syria will need an educated population to rebuild after the conflict. A generation of children are growing up in Syria believing that schools being bombed is a normal occurrence.
“We ask on all actors in the conflict to recognise this and take better care to ensure that schools are no longer the victim of military action. Enough is not being done to ensure children and schools are not victims of this conflict. Every child deserves the right to an education. Every child deserves the right to not be the victim of war when trying to get that education.”
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