‘Syrian forces targeting school children’




Syrian forces have been accused of shelling schools and interrogating students in a report released by Human Rights Watch.

Sky News reports that the 33-page document, Safe No More, is based on interviews with dozens of Syrians who have fled the country since the uprising began in March 2011.

The report says students have been beaten for alleged anti-government activity and had their classrooms turned into military bases, detention centres and sniper posts by both Syrian armed forces and opposition fighters.

Footage released by the group appears to show terrified students in Dael caught up in an artillery barrage. Many of the youngsters scream as loud explosions are heard in the background.

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Another video appears to show damage caused by tanks at a school elsewhere in the town. One room is on fire and huge holes can be seen in walls throughout the building.

“Syrian children have had to face things in the horrors of war that no child should have to bear – (they have been) interrogated, targeted and attacked,” said Priyanka Motaparthy, children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch and author of the report.

“Schools should be havens but in a country that once valued schooling, many Syrian children aren’t even getting basic education and are losing out on their future.”

According to the children’s charity UNICEF, at least one in five schools in Syria no longer function, with thousands destroyed, damaged or turned into shelters for people left homeless by the fighting.

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