The Targeting of Innocent Children and
Schools Have Caused More Families than Ever to Flee the Country
Contact Mike Kiernan
school, in the suburbs of northern Syria, was attacked by missiles in March
2015, while he and his fellow classmates were at school. Photo by Ahmad
Baroudi/Save the Children
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FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Sept. 16, 2015) — More than half of all attacks on schools worldwide in the last four
years have occurred in Syria, according to Save the Children, compounding the
humanitarian crisis that has already forced four million Syrian refugees to
flee to camps in over-crowded surrounding states, or onwards towards Europe.
A new Save the Children study, Education under Attack, brings to light how schools
inside Syria have been indiscriminately bombed, destroyed, commandeered by
armed groups, or turned into weapons caches or torture centers.
Like much of the rest of the world, a new school year also begins in
Syria this week, despite the fact that between 2.1 and 2.4 million Syrian children are now unable to attend school
due to the crisis.
There have been more than 4,000 attacks on schools inside Syria over the
past four years, with a staggering 51 recorded attacks on schools supported by
Save the Children in the past 18 months alone.
“Education in Syria is under deadly attack and an entire generation of
children is having their future ripped away from them,” says Martha Myers, Save
the Children’s Country Director in Syria. “When parents don’t even know if
their children will come home from school alive, it’s no wonder that so many
families are fleeing to Europe. The
blatant targeting of innocent children and schools is a devastating blow for
any chance of peace and prosperity in the region.”
School enrollment rates, among the highest in the world before the
conflict, have fallen dramatically, with only 17 percent of children displaced
within Syria now in school and enrolment rates now as low as 6 percent in some
of the areas worst hit by relentless fighting and indiscriminate air strikes.
Frequent bombings regularly force many schools to suspend classes for days or
weeks at a time, or to move classrooms to underground basements.
“If schools were not attacked and abused,
families might consider staying there for their children's future,” said Carolyn
Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children. “Fortunately, despite
the enormous challenges, it is vital – and possible – to deliver education in
appropriate community engagement, robust security analysis, investments that
allow adaptations to school infrastructure, teacher training, a flexible
approach to delivering learning and appropriate levels of psychosocial support,
children can continue to access education. Yet education is one of the most
underfunded sectors of the humanitarian response.
continue education, even under the most difficult circumstances, is an
investment in the future of Syria’s children, and the future of Syria,” added
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