Half a million Syrian children have returned to school this year, the Syrian Minister of Education, Hazwan al-Waz affirmed Tuesday.
During a meeting with the Director-General of Education at UNESCO, Qian Tang, al-Waz confirmed as such, adding that the Syrian government is committed to bringing all children back to school, in order to achieve the objectives of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Plan.
The minister spoke of the challenges the country continues to face, with over eight thousand educational institutions “destroyed by actions of terrorist groups.” In addition, Al-Waz continued, the country’s education system is suffering from economic sanctions imposed by the West.
According to the UN, more than 5 million children were displaced in the conflict over the past 6 years, about 2.4 million internally and 2.8 million as refugees in neighboring countries.
Syria has begun a process of rebuilding in various parts of the country after declaring victory against the Islamic State group earlier this month. The victory came after the Syrian army captured the border town of al-Boukamal, seizing the last Islamic State group stronghold in its territory.
While the army and its allies are still fighting militants in surrounding areas, the capture of the town ends the Islamic State group’s three-year reign in the region.
In 2014, the militant group had declared a so-called caliphate across Iraq and Syria, in which millions have suffered under its hardline, repressive structures.
The Syrian army had then pledged, in a statement, “that our brave armed forces will ever remain the immune fortress of the homeland in facing terrorism, foiling the Zionist-American projects and defending the Syrian Arab Republic territorial integrity and safety.”