Terrorists target 2037 schools, assassinate 77 education staff

 In an intervention at the opening session  of the 190th session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ( UNESCO)  's Executive Council on Wednesday , in Paris ,  Syria's  Minister of Education Hazwan al-Waz  said that Syrian schools were opened on September 16th and Syrian universities, faculties and intermediate  institutes were opened  despite the heavy damages inflected by the armed terrorist groups.

The intervention which was read by Syria 's Permanent Representative to UNESCO, Dr. Lamia Shakkour explained that the terrorists destroyed 2073 schools , most of which need to be rebuilt completely, whereas other 796 schools  were converted to shelters  for the displaced who were forced to leave their houses because of the  outright criminality  of these armed terrorists.

She added that the Ministry of Education documented the assassination of 88 persons working in the education sector, adding that damage inflicted upon this sector is estimated at a cost of 5.444 billion Syrian Pounds.

Moreover, damages inflected on the infrastructure of the Syrian universities, media and service establishments, and the museums, led to the disruptions of tourism, industry and other services sectors which used to contribute considerable revenues to  the national budget, she said .

Dr. Shakkour reiterated  the calls addressed  to UNESCO and related  international organizations  to send specialized  teams for Syria for direct verification  of the size and the effects  of the material and moral damages  inflected on the sectors of Education and Higher Education.

Dr. Shakkour continued that under the current crisis Syria faces imminent danger against its rich cultural heritage and archaeological treasures in more than ten thousands archeological sites. She noted that the Syrian authorities, in collaboration with local communities,   are taking the strongest measures to protect the country's cultural heritage, especially those registered on the list of the World Heritage.

She  continued that coordination is ongoing  with the UNESCO  and its specialized departments , which have been provided  with written reports  on the infringements targeting Syria 's heritage, demanding international bodies to fulfill their  obligations  stipulated  in the Heritage Protection Agreements  of 1954, 1972 and 2003.

Syria welcomed support of UNESCO director general  for sending a team of international experts under the umbrella of UNESCO to Syria, who has always been committed to UN and the International Law principles and the Human Rights Universal Declaration providing for  the respect for  states independence and sovereignty over their territory, the inadmissibility of interference  in their  internal affairs  and full responsibility to protect its civilians.

Dr. Shakkour welcomed "Education First" Initiative, launched by the UN secretary general, which UNESCO won the franchise of leading it, noting that Syria did pay its financial annual contributions for 2012, despite the challenges caused by the unjust sanctions targeting the Syrian people.


Tomader Fateh