Five children killed in bombing of Syrian school run by Denton charity

FIVE children were killed in a New Year’s Day bombing of a school run by Denton-based charity Syria Relief.The youngsters, aged between six and 13, were fatally injured when the school was hit by artillery.
News outlets reported four adults were also killed by the attack in Sarmin, Idlib.

Twelve children were injured by the bomb and among the adults injured were two teachers, one of who had to have a leg amputated.

Nine hundred and thirteen children are currently out of education because of the damage done to the Syria Relief school and the trauma they are suffering from the incident.

As well as working to help get the students back in education, Syria Relief is helping with medical treatment, visiting the families of those killed and working to provide psychological support for children affected.

Eyewitnesses claim it was a cluster bomb which landed at 11.44am on Wednesday January 1, 100 metres from the school.

This is the sixth Syria Relief school to have fallen victims of military action since the start of the Idlib offensive on April 30, 2019. Syria Relief are the largest NGO provider of education in Syria, running 159 schools.

Charles Lawley, Syria Relief’s head of advocacy and public relations, said: “It is with a great sadness that we must announce that another one of our schools was hit on New Year’s Day, killing five of our children.

“Unfortunately, our hopes for 2020 to be the year where the suffering of the Syrian people stops feels like they have already been dashed, as we have started the year with five young lives extinguished by this awful, merciless conflict.

“These were lives consumed by this war and taken by this war.”

Another school operated by Syria Relief is currently in a state of suspension after it became a victim of bombardment due to airstrikes and tank shelling in the Ma’arrat al-Numan area of Syria on Thursday, December 19.

No one was killed, but Syria Relief have been forced to suspend educational activities due to the danger provided by the massive bombardment that Ma’arrat al-Numan is currently facing. Because of this, 1,300 children are currently not receiving an education.

Syria Relief say that even home-based educational activity is currently impossible due to the scale of the offensive on Ma’arrat al-Numan.

In September, Syria Relief launched a report entitled ‘No School To Back To’ which detailed the impact deliberate targeting of schools is having on Syrian children and the Syrian economy.

Charles added: “We found that the quality of education suffers immensely when we are having to prioritise saving children’s lives, over helping children to learn and grow.

“If a child is out of education then their potential is under severe threat.

“Some parents in Syria are forced to choose between risking their child’s life by sending them to school or risking their future by not sending them.

“Destroying a school is in no one’s interest and we beg the actors in this conflict to stop targeting schools.”

Last year, Syria Relief distributed hundreds of millions worth of aid across Syria and helping approximately three million people in Syria. Their projects include:

• Running hospitals, mobile clinics, primary health centres, family planning clinics and prosthetic limbs centres, helping more than 250,000 people.
• Running 159 schools, giving more than 55,500 children in Syria an education.
• Providing vocation training, cash for work and small business support and rehabilitation of farming, raising livestock and water treatment, helping nearly 20,000 people.
• Providing clean water facilities for over 1.5 million people.

Anyone wishing to donate to the rehabilitation of the school or the medical or psychological treatment of the victims can donate to Syria Relief’s Idlib Emergency Appeal online at www.syriarelief.org.uk/appeals/idlib-appeal/

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