Douma student holds a sign: “Place the word missile in a sentence.”
A day after a teacher-organized protest in rebel-held Douma called for international condemnation of regime bombing of schools, a combination of missiles and cluster bombs struck a school in the city Sunday killing 40 people, reported the Douma Revolution Facebook page.
“The bombing in Douma today killed a school principal and a number of students and just yesterday a high school and primary school were bombed in Saqba,” Akram Zein, director of the Douma-based Rawad al-Huda Education Initiative, told Syria Direct on Sunday.
In April 2014 a government airstrike hit a Douma school killing 25 children and later, in February 2015, a regime surface-to-surface missile struck the city’s Al-Mutafawikoun School, reported the pro-opposition Violations Documentation Center. Across Syria, approximately one-fifth of all schools are unusable as a result of fighting, according to a UNICEF report from September 2015.
Civil society organizations such as the Rawad al-Huda Education Initiative have launched construction projects to reduce the risks faced by students and school staff.
“We have built air-raid shelters directly in or nearby all but two of the schools under our organization’s supervision and we always start and end the school day early and usually cancel the breaks between classes in order to reduce the time students are grouped together,” said Zein.
Bomb shelters, however, have only been added to approximately 10 percent of Douma’s schools.
“In general the schools are not prepared for emergency situations,” said Zein. “They have no shelters or even basements for children to hide in.”
Photo courtesy of Outer Damascus School Board.
– Reported by Orion Wilcox.