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Aleppo Starts the Academic Year Underground

Shelling makes normal school access impossible
Aleppo Starts the Academic Year Underground

The students enter classrooms through narrow halls and and dark staircases, leaving sunlight behind them.


A group of boys and girls sit in a hall furnished with 15 tables and some chairs. They sing enthusiastically then listen carefully to their teacher, Abdullah, who explains while writing on a green board hanging on one of the walls.


"The children are taking their lessons in the basement because of the shelling. The school is well-equipped, but the shelling forced us to take the children to the basement. It is hard for them, but we are trying our best to make it easy by doing a lot of leisure activities in order to make the place familiar for them. We will soon be upstairs, hopefully," Abdullah says.


Upstairs, the airstrikes have continued ceaselessly since December. Regime helicopters drop explosive barrels on various rebel-held areas in Aleppo. The United Nations and other non-governmental organizations condemned the regime campaign which doesn’t target military locations, and leads to the death of many civilians.


"We went upstairs to play. We cannot stay for a long time underground, it is hard to breathe, but we are afraid that a plane may come and shell us," says Jaafer, a primary school student. In the playground, some students are playing football, others are running.


"We were obligated to transform houses to schools. But the student suffers from the absence of playgrounds. Teaching is dangerous and all places are exposed to the shelling. The psychological situation of students is bad, and so they need constant care. Many students skip the lessons sometimes," explains a teacher from another school.


"Sometimes a student comes after a period of absence to tell us that his home was shelled or that his brother was killed or that it was hard to leave his neighborhood because of the bombardment. Children are the major victims of this war," the teacher adds.


According to a United Nations report, more than 51.8% of Syrian children don’t attend school.




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