Syrian refugee girls practicing their writing at home in a refugee camp. ©UNHCR
Syrian refugee girls practicing their writing at home in a refugee camp. ©UNHCR

Syria: Education union reports terrible toll of Turkish military aggression in Northeastern Syria

published 24 October 2019 updated 13 October 2023

According to one of Education International’s affiliates in Iraq, the Kurdistan Teachers’ Union, the Turkish attack in Northeastern Syria has already caused immense loss, with 18 teachers and 22 students killed, 810 schools damaged, 22 schools destroyed, and 86,000 students unable to attend classes. 5,000 refugees are reported to have arrived in the Kurdistan region of Iraq over the past few days, with no humanitarian support in place.

David Edwards, Education International General Secretary, stated: “We strongly denounce this unconscionable violence and join the global community in calling for the immediate end to these attacks on civilians, students and teachers. We express our solidarity with the Kurdish people in this dark hour.”

Education International has mobilised in support of those affected by the military aggression. An Urgent Action Appeal was sent to Education International’s 391 member organisations in over 170 countries and territories, encouraging them to contact the Turkish embassies in their countries and call for an immediate end to the destructive military intervention. EI and its members urge Turkey to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration and to implement the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict.

Schools and all education institutions must not be targeted or used in any way in military operations. Students, educators and all civilians who have already witnessed the horrors of war must not be victimised again. They must be allowed to rebuild their lives and communities.