It was noticed by SNHR the wide targeting of the educational structures by government forces using either barrel bombs or guided missiles. SNHR documented the targeting of no less than 3878 schools by government forces over the past three years.
Al-Ansari neighborhood is located in southwestern Aleppo, it is a rebel-held neighborhood.
On Wednesday 30 April, 2014 The Syrian regime’s Sukhoi warplanes has targeted, without any prior warning or reasonable cause, EinJaalout School that is located in Al-Anssari neighborhood in Aleppo with a guided missile. This indicates that the shelling was deliberate rather than indiscriminate. The shelling targeted a gathering of 400 students from the schools of the neighborhood and the surrounding areas who came to EinJaalout School for the exhibition of children’s drawings that the school was organizing under the name of “BasmatAmal” (A touch of hope).
The shelling killed 20 people including 17 children, one lady, and two members of the teaching staff according to the documenting team of SNHR.
This was the second time that EinJaalout School was targeted; the first time was when the Syrian regime’s warplanes had shelled the school with a missile that killed nine people on 21 August, 2013 when Al-Abrar charity market was being held there.
During the investigations, our team didn’t find any military target near the school, this can be concluded taking into consideration the big number of students and teachers who were killed by the shelling. Furthermore, Schools are among the protected premises according to the International Humanitarian Law. Even if we assumed rhetorically the existence of a military target, the shelling wasn’t distinguishing and killed a significant number of students and staff members a lot more than it should even if there was a military advantage which we weren’t able to recognize to this moment. This without any doubt can be classified as a war crime.
The Syrian government or people’s council of Syria haven’t yet started an investigation regarding this attack or any violation since 2011. Moreover, the Syrian constitution encourages these violations and immunize its perpetrators. To this day there haven’t been any trialof any soldier or security personnel. The Syrian government claims that it is fighting terror and Al-Qaeda, so can we justify shelling schools by saying it is a part of the war on terrorism?
FadlAbdulghani, head of SNHR, says: “We never sensed, during our daily work on documenting victims, any differences after 22 February as if Resolution 2139 wasn’t adapted. The Security Council should take further actions like it promised and shoulder responsibility in regard to stopping the killing of civilians and protecting the right of the Syrian children in learning, and supporting educational initiatives”.
SNHR talked to the media activist Marwan Al-Halabi who was present when the shelling took place as he was covering the exhibition:
“I went to EinJaalout School in the morning to cover the second day of the children’s drawings exhibition. Shortly before I arrived,a huge explosions occurred in the school yard, and I saw a warplane soaring high in the sky. The smoke was everywhere, almost one-third of the school was destroyed.”
“I entered the school to see the kids running in panic in every direction, there were body parts in every corner, and blood on some of the drawings.”
“I tried to help an injured lady to get out of the school and carried two children to the nearest ambulance I could find.”
“The civil defense arrived eventually with cranes and bulldozers and started removing the rubbels searching for any survivors or dead bodies. All the wounded and dead bodies were then taken to BasselAslan Hospital in As-Sukkari neighborhood.”
Reem, a teacher at EinJaalout School who was present when the shelling took place, talked to SNHR:
“At 9:00 approximately the students and I were getting ready to go down and have a look at the drawings when a huge explosions happened that shook the whole school and destroyed most of the doors and windows.”
“After the explosion, the students and teachers ran outside the building, I saw tens of wounded in the school yard; some of them were bleeding badly, I tried to help some of them until the arrival of the medical team. The ground floor has been destroyed completely as well as an abandoned building next to the school. I am just wondering how the wounded students who lost their friends are feeling. They destroyed their future.”