Shock figures reveal schools in Syria have been attacked more than 4,000 times in 4 years

Khalid* age 7 who suffered severe injuries when his school was attacked in Northern Syria

Never the same: Khalid, age 7, who suffered severe injuries and lost his hand when his school was attacked in Northern Syria

More than half of all attacks on schools worldwide in the last four years have occurred in Syria – which amounts to more than 4,000.

The findings, from Save the Children, come with some sobering stories of tragic children who have lost limbs and lives thanks to the ongoing military conflict in the county.

Between 2011 and the end of 2014, the UN Secretary General reported 8,428 attacks on schools in 25 countries, with 52% of these reported to have taken place in Syria.

Since the start of 2015, Save the Children research has documented at least 32 attacks in Syria, but lack of access to many areas means the total number is likely to be much higher.

Destroyed school in the Idleb suburbs in Northern Syria

Destroyed school in the Idleb suburbs in Northern Syria

The humanitarian crisis in the area has already forced four million Syrian refugees to flee to camps in overcrowded surrounding states, or onwards towards Europe.

The Save the Children study, Education under Attack, brings to light how schools inside Syria have been reportedly bombed, destroyed, commandeered by armed groups, or turned into weapons caches or torture centres.

Stories of loss and horror are common, like Khalid, age seven, who suffered severe injuries when his school was attacked in Northern Syria and ended up losing his hand.

Maha, who is 10, was forced to leave her home town after it was bombed two years ago.

Maha*, 10, holding her book in a school supported by Save the Children in northern Syria

Hope for the future: Maha, 10, holding her book in a school supported by Save the Children in northern Syria

In a new area, she started at the school, but it was soon attacked – mercifully when the children had left for the day.

The school was repaired twice by Save the Children, but it’s since been attacked two more times and is no longer safe.

Maha said: “One day last year we had just finished school and had returned home. My mother was preparing lunch in the kitchen when we heard the siren and the noise of an aeroplane.

“We ran into a room in the middle of the house when we heard a big explosion. It was very close to our home so the whole house shook.

“A while later we learned that the missile had hit my school.”

Destroyed school in Syria

Destruction of education: The future is bleak for the children in wartorn Syria

Now Maha is not able to go to school, and she’s worried about missing out on her education.

“If I stay at home I will never be what I want to be in the future, I will be nothing.

“I have always wanted to become a doctor like my aunt, but right now I only wish that the war would end.”

Save the Children’s Country Director in Syria, Martha Myers, says: “Education in Syria is under deadly attack and an entire generation of children is having their future ripped away from them.

“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.

Destroyed school in the Idleb suburbs in Northern Syria

Hope blown apart: A destroyed school in the Idleb suburbs in Northern Syria

“The blatant targeting of innocent children and schools is a devastating blow for any chance of peace and prosperity in the region.”

Like much of the rest of the world, a new school year recently commenced, despite the fact that between 2.1 and 2.4 million Syrian children are now unable to attend school due to the crisis.

School enrolment rates, among the highest in the world before the conflict, have fallen dramatically, with only 17% of children displaced within Syria now in school and enrolment rates now as low as 6% in some of the areas worst hit by relentless fighting and indiscriminate air strikes.

Frequent bombing regularly forces many schools to suspend classes for days or weeks at a time, or to move classrooms to underground basements.

source: Daily Mirror

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