Reports of the attacks on teachers in the Syrian coastal region have overwhelmed Syrian discussions on social media over the past few days.
On Thursday, the Directorate of Education in Tartous, on its Facebook page, reported that two young men beat up a senior teacher at the Jalal Khaddam High School in the city of Banias, Tartous province. The teacher was rushed to hospital in a critical condition. Two days previously, two other teachers were badly beaten by students in Safita in Tartous province.
Pro-regime activists circulated pictures of the teachers who were severely beaten. Loyalist news websites reported that the Banias incident occurred when two youths stormed Jalal Khaddam High School to assault one of the students. One of the teachers tried to resolve the dispute, before the two youths beat and stabbed him.
The websites did not say that any of the teachers died, but confirmed the use of weapons in the attacks, including a grenade at the incident in Safita, which sparked outrage in the comments section.
Loyalist websites tried to cover up the incidents, which only increased anger among Syrians. Many activists pointed to the control of the militia, which now has considerable influence in the areas under the regime’s control. They highlighted that the Safita incident was carried out by a young man and his father, both of whom are members of the National Defense militias. They were retaliating to student’s temporary suspension from school.
In the past few months, the Syrian coastal areas, which are heavily populated by Alawites who support President Assad, have witnessed a number of incidents of security chaos resulting in the deaths of a number of civilians, which have been caused by the proliferation of weapons among the population. The region is considered a bastion of the regime’s militias, most importantly the National Defense, which controls many of the central and coastal areas. They enjoy a very bad reputation, and are especially infamous for kidnapping, robbery and prohibited trade.
A young female activist said on her Facebook page, “According to the Ministry of Education laws, hitting students is prohibited but hitting teachers and their families and threatening them is allowed.”
Another critic wrote, “We must put an end to this tragic farce.”
In contrast, pro-government groups and Facebook pages tended to purge the militias of blame and blamed in incident on rules and regulations not being implemented. According to them, the magic solution is re-instituting military training in schools, under the pretext that, “dignity has been lost from schools since the abolition of the military training class!”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.