Russian airstrikes hit Syria’s northwestern Idlib province on Tuesday in a renewed attack on the last opposition bastion, wounding four civilians and causing widespread panic.
“Terrified women and children running for cover as airstrikes hit areas close to densely populated camps for displaced people in Idlib, near the Bab Al-Hawa crossing point,” Mark Cutts, U.N. deputy regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syria crisis wrote on Twitter.
“These displaced people must be protected,” he underlined.
The White Helmets civil defense group also reported the event and said that an elderly woman and a young man were injured, and cases of fainting were recorded due to fear and panic, after four Russian air strikes near camps in the village of Kalbet in the northern countryside of Idlib.
The Idlib region bordering Türkiye is home to about 3 million people and it is one of the last pockets to oppose Damascus.
For years, the Bashar Assad regime has ignored the needs and safety of the Syrian people, only eyeing further territorial gains and crushing the opposition. With this aim, the regime has for years bombed civilian facilities such as schools, hospitals and residential areas, causing the displacement of almost half of the country's population.
The Idlib de-escalation zone was forged under an agreement between Türkiye and Russia. The area has been the subject of multiple cease-fire agreements, which have been frequently violated by the Assad regime and its allies.
A fragile truce was brokered between Moscow and Ankara in March 2020 in response to months of fighting by the Russia-backed regime. Almost a million people have fled Assad's offensive yet the regime still frequently carries out attacks on civilians, hindering most from returning to their homes and forcing them to live in makeshift camps.
On the other side, in a front line town divided by regime and opposition forces in northwest Syria, students have returned to classrooms in a bombed-out building with no glass in the windows, no doors, desks, chairs or electricity.
Girls carrying pink backpacks play alongside boys with blue ones in the courtyard of their school in Tadif, some 32 kilometers (20 miles) east of the city of Aleppo.
Heavily damaged during Syria's more than decadelong war, Tadif lies on what has turned into a quiet front line between regime and opposition forces.
Most of the eight schools in the area have been completely destroyed.
But one reopened this week, welcoming around 300 students from the opposition-held sector of Tadif.
In a dark makeshift classroom, children were gathered for their mathematics class.
"Because of the war, most of the schools in the city have been destroyed and we cannot repair them," math teacher Salah al-Khamis told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Mohamed al-Akil, the mayor of Tadif and a father of two, said he has sent his own children to school in a nearby village.
"We can only accommodate 300 pupils out of 3,000," he said.
Tadif's makeshift school is one of many desperate attempts to provide education in Syria's embattled northwest, where 44% of school-aged children do not have access to education, according to the United Nations.
Children make up more than half of the region's population of more than 4 million, the U.N. says.
"Hundreds of schools have been damaged or destroyed by bombing and far too many children remain out of school," Cutts said.
Meanwhile, Türkiye is stepping up efforts to renew damaged schools in northwest Syria.
Most recently, Ankara in cooperation with local and Pakistani humanitarian aid organizations facilitated in July the opening of one more school in northern Syria’s Tal Abyad.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Tal Abyad Director of National Education Mukri Hac Imam thanked everyone who contributed to the opening of the school complex that houses three buildings.
Imam stated that the number of schools that have been repaired and maintained in Tal Abyad has increased to 45, adding that 900 primary and secondary school students will receive education at the school.
In addition to the tens of thousands of students who receive education in the 303 schools in Tal Abyad, 30,000 students also receive education in 160 schools in Ras al-Ain.
Türkiye carried out Operation Peace Spring against the PKK terrorist group's Syrian branch, the YPG, which is mainly backed by the United States, in northern Syria to prevent a terrorism corridor from being created along its southern border, as well as to bring peace to the region.
Since the launch of the operation, Ankara has been supporting every aspect of life in the region, from health to education, security and agriculture. In this respect, efforts to clear bombs and improvised explosive devices were launched and administration duties were given to local councils.
The country also rolled up its sleeves to reconstruct hospitals, schools, mosques and roads destroyed by the YPG/PKK. Within the scope of improving the region's social infrastructure, people were given food and clothing by several nongovernmental organizations while roads and buildings were rebuilt. These efforts paid off as hundreds of displaced Syrians started to return to the liberated areas.