Teachers' union of North and East Syria: Turkey is destroying educational infrastructure

The teachers' union of Northern and Eastern Syria warned that the constant attacks on schools have meant a heavy threat to the education system and thus create a vacuum in which ISIS ideology could spread again.

The Teachers' Union of North and East Syria (Yekîtiya Mamosteyên Bakur û Rojhilatê Sûriyeyê) introduced itself in a statement. The union is organized throughout Northern and Eastern Syria at municipal and regional levels. According to the description, the union is committed to social justice and equal opportunities for teachers. In addition, the union also sees itself as a mechanism for the further development of education in Northern and Eastern Syria and the training of teachers.

The union underlined that the region's education system is "oriented towards building a ethical and democratic society". The foundations of this social development lie in the freedom of women and the turning away from chauvinism.

"Teachers on the education front in the fight against jihadism"

The union continued: “Ethnic and religious extremism gave rise to fanaticism, which turned into radicalization and terrorism. So our region is still suffering from an era of darkness and extremism of ISIS terror. Constant threats are made against the education workers who work to prevent the spread of this sinister thought.”

"Turkish attacks prevent the fulfilment of the educational mission"

However, said the union, a safe environment is necessary for educational work, but this is “difficult to achieve” due to the ongoing Turkish threats and attacks. This situation harbours the danger that terror will regain strength and spread ideologically.

"Educational infrastructure is being destroyed"

The union also warned that large parts of the educational structure have been destroyed or threatened. This is mainly due to the constant Turkish attacks. As a result, there is now a shortage of school buildings in the attacked areas. Due to the shelling of educational institutions, parents feared sending their children to school.

"Lack of international recognition threatens education"

Another threat to the future of education in Northern and Eastern Syria is the lack of explicit international recognition of the region. "The current circumstances – said the union - do not offer the opportunity for diplomatic activities and the establishment of foreign relations with the aim of informing the world about the education and training system in Northern and Eastern Syria and about the experiences of democratic self-government.” Other factors are the embargo against the region, which leads to a lack of educational material.

“Children need special care, especially during war”

The union underlined the special needs of children and said that "especially in the current situation, children need special care because of the anxiety and depression caused by the war." The union called on "the international community, humanitarian organizations and institutions dealing with education to support education in the region and to promote it in international forums".

"Free and pluralistic education system"

The union described the education system as a free and democratic system that aims to consolidate the principle of free thought and respect for the diversity of languages. In this sense, the teachers in Northern and Eastern Syria have gained many experiences that they would like to share with colleagues and institutions around the world. “But first of all, - the union said – it is necessary to end the war against us, to end ISIS terror and the remnants of its extremist ideology, as well as to end of the Turkish occupation of our cities and the constant threats to start a new invasion against the region of Northern and Eastern Syria."