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AFP
September 21, 2019

In Idlib, education a casualty of war

World

AFP
September 21, 2019

HAZANO, Syrie: Near the village of Hazano in northwestern Syria, children come running through the olive groves every morning to meet the bus that brings school to their improvised tented camp.

Years of fighting and displacement in Idlib province have wrought chaos for the education of children, destroying schools and scattering families into homelessness across the countryside. More than 400,000 people have been displaced since April alone, when the Russian-backed government upped its deadly bombardment of the jihadist-dominated enclave. "These children can’t go to school, it’s too far from where they are," said Farid Bakir, a local programme manager with Syria Relief, the charity that launched the bus project.

In Hazano camp, the children get in line and hope to be among those who squeeze into the bus for a few hours. A whiteboard is installed in the back, a thick carpet laid on the floor and a few dozen small desks, also used as chairs, are re-arranged depending on the activity.

The ceiling is too low for the teacher to stand fully upright but Hussein Ali Azkour, a young boy wearing a yellow T-shirt, is enthusiastic about his classroom-on-wheels. "The difference between a normal school and the bus, is that the bus is air-conditioned. It’s better than a thousand schools," he said. "When we fled here, there was no school and they started bringing the buses. If these buses were to stop coming, we would have no education and learn nothing."

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