The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continue to launch security campaigns targeting teachers in their areas of control, in a move that threatens the educational process in northern and eastern Syria. The SDF insists on implementing its plan to recruit teachers and fire those who reject the decision, despite the dozens of protests and strikes organized by teachers.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) confirmed in a report, issued on March 2, that the SDF arrested 61 teachers in northeastern Syria and has arbitrarily dismissed 550 teachers from their jobs since the beginning of the year.
The SNHR considered that the recruitment of teachers affects the education of nearly half a million students in the governorates of Hassakeh, Deir-ez-Zor, and Raqqa, which are all Self Administration areas.
SNHR indicated that it documented the arrest of 34 teachers to be recruited into the ranks of SDF, in addition to the arrest of 27 teachers on charges of teaching the regime’s curricula, 14 of whom were released later after signing a pledge to stop teaching the said curricula. The report also mentioned 550 teachers who were dismissed after refusing compulsory military service.
Regarding the students’ preference for the government’s curriculum over the SDF one, Mahmoud al-Madi, a political activist who has worked as a teacher for years in Al-Hasakah, says that parents enroll their sons and daughters into regime curriculum classes because it is officially recognized. This means that students can pursue their university education outside and inside Syria, at government universities or even in areas controlled by the National Army, where there are Turkish universities.
In his interview with Baladi News, Madi pointed out that the universities established by SDF are not recognized except in the areas controlled by them, which is an additional reason that pushes people to plan for a secure future for their sons and daughters, despite the additional expenses that they incur to register their children in special courses. SDF has been closing down regime schools in its areas of control.
Regarding the reason for the arrests targeting teachers, journalist Wissam Mohammad, who hails from Deir-ez-Zor, links the teachers and intellectuals’ rejection of the SDF curriculum in Deir-ez-Zor last year and the current recruitment campaign that is being waged against them.
The Head of the Political Bureau in Raqqa, Nasser al-Hamoud al-Salama, confirmed that the SDF does not really need to recruit teachers into its ranks, for it already imposes compulsory conscription in its areas of control, and its forces include thousands of forced recruits.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.