School in Aleppo supported by People in Need hit by shelling – we call for immediate ceasefire of the attacks against civilians

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Aleppo, April 14th, 2015 – On Sunday, April 12th, in the Saad Al-Anasari school in the eastern part of Aleppo, Syria, a few children played peacefully in the schoolyard. Soon after, a nearby building was hit by a bomb. According to reliable sources, the powerful blast left at least 9 dead, 5 of them children.

The school, which houses 431 pupils and 47 teachers, has been supported by the Czech humanitarian NGO, People in Need (PIN), since October 2014. PIN provides school supplies, pays teachers‘ salaries, and trains them to work with traumatized children. Sadly, this was not the first attack on a school in Aleppo. In December 2014, bombs hit the Alarmuk school in the Bustan Al-Kasr district. Luckily, the school was empty as no pupils were there. On Monday, April 13th, another empty school was bombed in the Salah Aldin district.

Aleppo used to be the business center of Syria. Much has changed. The war has divided the city into an eastern section controlled by opposition groups, and a western district controlled by the government. In the past few weeks, there has been a significant escalation in fighting. The Syrian government is trying to surround the opposition-held district and cut their supply lines, while the opposition is counterattacking the government positions.

„The situation is growing worse, and the results are that dozens die every day,“ says Tomas Kocian, director of PIN’s mission in Syria. On Saturday, April 11th alone, at least 30 people were killed due to fighting.

“According to the UN, there are six major types of children’s rights violations in situations of armed conflict. On Sunday, two of them were committed – the killing and maiming of children, and the attacks on schools and hospitals,” adds Kocian. This attack also violated the Geneva Agreements and its protocols I. and II., which set rules to protect citizens during armed conflicts.

People in Need calls on every actor involved in the conflict to immediately stop the shelling of civilian areas, and of the schools and hospitals in particular.