Schools in the liberated areas of Deir ez-Zor city have started the new school year in relative peace after Damascus breached the Islamic State terrorists’ siege and sent much-needed humanitarian aid to the population who suffered years of blockade.
Most of the schools in the city of Deir ez-Zor have been destroyed over more than two years of the terrorist blockade of the city. As the siege dragged on, thousands of students were deprived of pursuing their studies.
Some learners left school because there were none to attend, while others decided to work in order to support their families. A few students however, chose to continue their schooling, but under trying conditions and amidst constant IS shelling.
“Mortar shells were falling on us every day, one after another. Many were injured. We were besieged and remained in that situation until God relieved us,” a student at Adel Alwan school in Deir ez-Zor told RT.
On September 5, just a week before classes were due to start, the Syrian army with the help of the Russian Air Force finally broke the siege of the city.
“We were besieged for three years, and yet we went to school, mortars were falling and people were injured. Now we came to school and we have lessons,” a student inside the classroom said.
“Thanks to the army, God, and Mr. President Bashar Al Assad, we are back to school and doing our best, hopefully until the end. During the last year, we lived in poverty, hunger, and cold. And, thank God, we shall continue to study. Thanks to the army,” another student said.
Locals are grateful for the humanitarian aid and supplies that have been sent to the liberated city by humanitarian agencies, Moscow and Damascus.
“The siege is broken, thank God, we are happy, excited and jovial. We wish things would improve even more,” added a teacher, Khaldi AlSh’hada.
“We need everything – clothes, shoes, and full stationery to come to school, so [we can] write, read and get back to normal again,” a student pointed out.
After lifting the siege of the provincial capital last week, the Syrian army in tandem with Russian air support, continues to engage the remaining pockets of ISIS resistance in Deir ez-Zor province.
On Wednesday, the Syrian army carried out combat missions to secure the perimeter of the Military Airport and Regiment 137. Simultaneously, the army engaged ISIS fighters in the province’s southeastern countryside, Sana reported.
The Syrian Air Force also conducted several sorties targeting movements and positions of IS in the al-Jnaina, al-Maryaiya, and al-Beghailiya villages, “killing and injuring many terrorists and destroying their fortified positions,” a Sana correspondent added.
Russian Lt. Gen Alexander Lapin told reporters Tuesday that the Syrian government now controls 85 per cent of the country’s territory.
However, as the Syrian government’s offensive progresses, the army is moving closer to US-backed forces who began their operation last Saturday, after the siege of the city had been smashed. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), aided by US airpower and artillery, are moving toward Deir ez-Zor from the north from Raqqa, where SDF forces are battling IS for control of the city.
As of Tuesday, SDF forces “have liberated approximately 42,000 square-kilometers in Syria” which, the US-led Coalition told Kurdish Rudaw news, is estimated to be “77 percent of the territory previously held by ISIS.”