Syrian kids relish return to school in ex-ISIL bastion

They were savouring more than just the late September sun: it was their first normal schoolday after two years of brutal jihadist rule over their hometown.

Syrian kids relish return to school in ex-ISIL bastion

World Bulletin / News Desk

Children rushed out into the schoolyard for break time on the first day of classes in the Syrian town of Manbij, ignoring the ISIL group insignia on a nearby wall.

"We were so happy when we came back to school and we hope we can come every day," said nine-year-old Ghefran, sporting a low ponytail and light pink sweater.

IS overran Arab-majority Manbij in early 2014, imposing the hardline interpretation of Islamic law it has adopted across its self-styled "caliphate" straddling Syria and Iraq.

The group shut down traditional classes at Ghefran's Bayram school, painting their black-and-white flag around the place and briefly holding religious courses there.

They renamed it the Abdullah Azzam School after the so-called founding father of global jihad.

"When the ISIL was here, they wouldn't let us come to school," Ghefran said.

"We missed our teachers," she said. "And we missed our books." 

The jihadists shut hundreds of schools in Manbij and surrounding villages, leaving about 78,000 children without formal education for two years, said the town's education coordinator Hassan Harun.

But in August this year, a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters called the Syrian Democratic Forces recaptured the town.

Harun and his team immediately began inspecting all the schools to see which ones could be renovated and used, and which were damaged beyond repair. 

Out of 390 schools in Manbij and the surrounding villages, 192 schools reopened this year, while 59 are still being restored.  

The other schools are in areas still under IS control, Harun said. 

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Eylül 2016, 12:53
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