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Syrian School Term Begins, for Some
September 17, 2012

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The school term has begun in Syria, but the violence in cities across the country has kept thousands of students away from school.

For starters, the bombings and firefights in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, and other large cities and small towns have killed more than 23,000 people, according to the latest estimates by human rights groups. The armed struggle between government troops and forces in opposition to President Bashar al-Assad have damaged or destroyed thousands of buildings, including about 2,000 schools. In the wake of the ongoing armed struggle, about 200,000 children have had to leave their homes for various reasons, among them that their homes were destroyed or that the fighting was still going on around them or that they had left the country altogether, like an estimated 250,000 refugees who have fled to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. At times overwhelmed by refugees, officials in these neighboring countries have set up refugee camps. One such camp in Jordan reported that two-thirds of the people staying there were under 18 and that several thousand were under 5.

For those still in Syria, the grim picture continues as more than 750 schools are being used not as educational facilities but as sanctuaries for people displaced from their homes. That number includes some newly built schools that have yet to be put to their intended use.

Still, the government reported that more than 5 million students attended school at 22,000 schools across the country. Many schools have been unaffected by the violence. At others, teachers are making do with the resources that they have.

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