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Tawhid Division Schools in Aleppo Excise Regime Propaganda

Many students have lost a whole year of schooling as a result of the war
Tawhid Division Schools in Aleppo Excise Regime Propaganda

With the start of the battle of Aleppo in July 2012, the majority of educational institutions closed.


While some students in Aleppo continued their lessons during the winter in secret schools opened by opposition activists, "the majority of children have lost a whole year of school," according to a school administrator, Aby Hussein who receives hundreds of children at an old factory.


With the return of thousands of Syrian students to schools in Aleppo, Abu Hussein said that "the re-opening of schools is a good thing; it gives you a feeling that things are somewhat normal in spite of the continuation of the war just a few kilometers away."


Abu Hussein runs a school that opened in September in Sheikh Najjar, an industrial area in the Aleppo area where thousands of displaced people sought refuge over the past months.


"The children of this region were abandoned to their fate, so we studied the possibility of opening schools in the industrial area to let them continue their studies," he explained.


"We do not have enough books, each book is for three children, old versions dating back several years."

In the neighborhood of Hanano, there is a lack of school supplies at the school which receives about 200 children with the support of the Free Syrian Army and Syrian charities.


The director of the school, Abu Mohammed, said: "We have a shortage of notebooks, pens and school supplies. Nevertheless, we see that lessons should be resumed as usual in order to stop young people from following the developments of the war and all the shelling around the clock."


Seif El Dawla School is located about 100 meters from one of the most tense fronts in the area of Aleppo, in northern Syria. Bullet holes cover the walls of the stadium.


Ahmed Saleh, 22, is a former mathematics student who is now a professor at the school, which opened with the support of at-Tawhid Division, a powerful faction of the Free Army and close to the Muslim Brotherhood.


"The shells continue to fall every day, but we pray to God, lest any of them hit the school," Saleh said.


"The supplies for the school is a good, thanks to books smuggled from regime areas, with the help of professor friends who reside there.


Professors receive about 5,000 SP ($44) per month.


Despite the bombing, school attendance rate has increased, and it now has about one thousand pupils.


Another teacher named Ali said that many secret schools closed their doors "and therefore we reopened the old school," which was abandoned at some point, because some of them are now used as the headquarters by the opposition, so they were prime targets for the forces of the regime.


The program includes English, Maths, Religion and Arabic. But "our students are not studying geography and history. We put these books aside because they include the propaganda of the regime and we do not want the students to learn lies as we were forced to do", according to Ali.


Samir Hallaq, a professor of religion at a school in Salah al-Din which was also opened under the auspices of the Tawhid Division, said that "before the revolution, schools were dedicated only to teach students the regime's propaganda."


He said that the reopening of schools has become more important with the "start of the return of some displaced people who have fled the shelling last year."


Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer


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