Syrian warplanes attack rebel-held city.

March 7th, 2013

Lakhdar Brahimi called for international unity in efforts to encourage a political solution to the Syrian crisis. The secretary-general of the Syrian National Coalition, Mustafa Sabbagh, says his group would like any dialogue with the Syrian president to centre on his exit strategy. Discussions about Assad’s future are a no-go area for the Syrian government and not up for negotiation.The ongoing conflict is depriving hundreds of thousands of children of their education, according to the United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF). UNICEF spokesperson in Geneva, Marixie Mercado, says in cities where the conflict has been most intense, some children have already missed out on almost two years of schooling.
“Attendance has dropped to as low as six per cent in Aleppo, 38 per cent in Idlib, and 70 per cent in Deraa. Some students often are just showing up twice a week. In areas hosting high numbers of displaced persons, such as Homs City, classes are overcrowded, sometimes hosting up to 100 students. Over 110 teachers and other staff have been killed in the conflict, and many others are not reporting to work. In Idlib, teacher attendance is 55 per cent. Some schools have been used by armed forces and groups involved in the conflict,” she said.UNICEF adds that one fifth of the country’s 21,500 schools have sustained direct damage or are being used as shelter for displaced persons.