Talks aimed at ending the war in Syria have started in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana without the opposition, leaving little hope for a breakthrough. Syrian opposition groups on March 13 said they would not attend the talks, accusing the Syrian government and its backer Russia of failing to adhere to a cease-fire brokered in December. Bashar al-Jaafari, the Syrian government envoy, said the absence of the opposition showed that Turkey was breaking its commitments. Ankara supports some Sunni Arab rebel factions seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Reacting to the opposition’s refusal to attend the talks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the peace process was “hugely complex”.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari announced that the next round of negotiations between the Syrian government and the rebel groups is planned to be held in Kazakhstan within less than a month. “The Islamic Republic of Iran calls on all Syrian groups to join the peace negotiations with the Syrian government and take the fate of their children in their hands”, he said. He further emphasized that a communique has been finalized by a joint committee monitoring the ceasefire in Syria, which has been established by Iran, Russia and Turkey.
There are several hot spot in the world. The International press shown below talk about geopolitical crisis, wars and clashes in Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and South America.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ratified an agreement with the Syrian government that allows Russia to use the Hmeimim air base in Syria indefinitely, the Kremlin said on Friday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday he had “no special expectations” for Saturday’s talks on the Syria crisis that will be held in Lausanne because Moscow had not yet seen reciprocal steps from its western partners. Russia does not intend to put forward new initiatives on resolving the conflict in Syria, Lavrov told reporters in the Armenian capital Yerevan.
Russia said all participants in talks in Lausanne had agreed Syrians should decide their own future through inclusive dialogue and that the country should remain whole and secular, after the meeting ended without a breakthrough. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that in order for a U.S.-Russian ceasefire agreement to succeed and to facilitate humanitarian aid deliveries, Syria’s moderate opposition must separate from Jabhat Fatah al Sham, previously known as the Nusra Front, and other “terrorist groups” affiliated with it.
Syrian opposition monitoring groups say an airstrike on a rebel-held village in Northern Syria has killed at least 23 people. The activists said the attack on the village of Oweijel in the Northern province of Aleppo occurred on Monday.
According to informations handed over to the Russian Center by the local council of the Syrian city of Afrin, the village of Hassadjek suffered an air attack in which six people died and four more were injured, the center said in a statement published by the Russian Defense Ministry website, SANA reported. It was reported that two residential buildings were destroyed as a result of the attack by US-led coalition warplanes. The statement stressed that neither Russian nor Syrian air forces were carrying out any missions in the area.
Moscow has extended the humanitarian pause in the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo for another 24 hours, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Thursday.
The Turkish military opened fire against the Kurdish self-defense forces in northern Syria after several mortar shells, allegedly fired by the Kurdish troops, had exploded in the south of the country, Turkey’s General Staff said on Thursday.
The Supreme Political Council on Sunday held the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia full responsibility on Oct. 8 air attacks for the air attacks on a funeral of Al Al-Ruwaishan in the capital Sanaa that left over 700 civilian dead and injured. In a statement received by Saba, the political council recognized the Saudi-led coalition’s statement that was attributed to the so-called ” joint investigation team”, which was issued on Saturday, Oct. 15, as an attempt to escape from the responsibility and try to clear the the aggression coalition’s responsibility that are filled with crimes and massacres against the Yemeni civilians.
President Saleh al-Sammad called the United Nations security council to stop Saudi-led barbaric aggression and blockade on Yemen, in a letter sent to the UN late on Saturday. In the letter, the president detailed brutal and inhumane crimes committed by the Saudi-led barbaric coalition during 18 months of aggression against the Yemen people, including last week cruel air attacks on a funeral in the capital Sanaa that killed and injured over 700 civilian mourners, which violate the international humanitarian laws.
A total of 81 persons have been arrested on charges of various crimes in several governorates over the past two days, a police official told Saba on Monday.
Dozens of Saudi soldiers were killed in a military operation by the army and popular forces in Jizan region, a military official told Saba on Wednesday. Among the dozens killed, two Saudi soldiers were killed by the army`s snipers in al-Karn and al-Dawd military site in Jizan. Saudi aggression warplanes launched five strikes on al-Mahrokh, kharab Sadeek sites and al-Dawd mount. The planes continued flying heavily over the sky for hours.
Saudi aggression warplane waged five strikes on Bani Hushish district of Sanaa province overnight.
The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen wrongly attacked a funeral there after receiving incorrect information from Yemeni military figures that armed Houthi leaders were in the area, an investigative body set up by the Arab coalition said on Saturday. “The coalition command expresses its regret at this unintentional incident and the ensuing pain for victims’ families. The incident is not in line with the coalition’s objectives, namely protecting civilians and restoring safety and stability in Yemen,” the coalition said in a statement.
The Houthi militias, which are backed by Iran, have — for the third time in less than a week — attacked US Navy in the strategic Bab Al-Mandab Strait, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Saturday night’s attack came after the first one on Monday, Oct. 10.
The warring parties in Yemen have agreed to a 72-hour cease-fire which is to take effect shortly before midnight Wednesday, the UN special envoy to Yemen announced Monday. Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said, before the Ahmed’s ceasefire announcement, that Saudi Arabia is prepared to agree to a cease-fire in Yemen if the Iran-allied Houthis agree, adding that he was sceptical about efforts for peace after previous cease-fire attempts had failed. “Everybody wants a cease-fire in Yemen, nobody more so than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the coalition members,” he told reporters in London.
The only thing people seem to agree about the current battle for Mosul is that Isis will be defeated militarily and the city retaken. Militarily, Isis is losing. But progress on giving Sunnis in Mosul reasons to believe in their future and to support the country’s Shia-dominated government remains elusive. And this is the key battleground: without victory here, we will be locked into a cycle of violence without end.
As many as 1.2 million people could be displaced by the fighting in Mosul, according to the United Nations. About 213,000 people from Mosul, Falluja and Qaiyara now live in refugee camps in northern Iraq. Another 200,000 people are expected to flee Mosul in the initial stages of the offensive.
The negotiations for brokering the peace deal began years ago – under the previous Afghan government – its successful conclusion last month could only have happened with US acquiescence. The signing of the peace pact and its timing has the full backing of Washington. It shows beyond doubt that the key to peace deals with Afghan armed groups is with the United States and Pakistan, where Afghan rebels are based. However, the deal will not have any immediate impact on the security situation.
A factory producing Improvised Explosive Device (IED) for the Taliban militants was destroyed during an operation of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in southern Helmand province.The officials further added at least 15 suspected Taliban insurgents were also arrested during the operation.According to the UN mission, the anti-government elements remain responsible for 60 percent of the civilian casualties with ground engagements continuing to cause the highest number of civilian casualties, followed by complex and suicide attacks and improved explosive devices.
Iran demanded that all arms sales to Israel and Saudi Arabia be halted immediately based on “humanitarian law”. The comments were made during the UN’s annual Disarmament and International Security Committee meeting at the world body’s headquarters in New York. “We are deeply concerned about the destabilizing repercussions of the continual entry and export of such weaponry into the region, especially into Saudi Arabia and the Zionist regime of Israel,” said Iran’s Deputy permanent representative at the UN GholamHossein Dehqani.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova told MK Tzipi Livni that her organization would battle the delegitimization of Israel, as well as continue to promote Jewish heritage around the world and fight against Holocaust denial. Bokova made the comments in a response to a letter that the Zionist Union lawmaker and former foreign minister sent ahead of Thursday’s UNESCO vote on a resolution that effectively rejects Jewish ties to Jerusalem’s holy sites.
Three people were lightly injured in two rock-throwing attacks in East Jerusalem on Tuesday. In one incident, two people were lightly hurt when stones were thrown at an Israeli car in the A-Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem, police said. The two were treated at the scene by Magen David Adom rescue personnel. Security forces later arrested a 15-year-old East Jerusalem resident suspected to be behind the attack. In a separate incident, one person was lightly hurt after he was hit by stones near the Lions’ Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem.
In spite of an Israeli effort to delay a final vote, the UN cultural agency on Tuesday adopted a controversial Arab-sponsored resolution on East Jerusalem that ignores Jewish and Christian historical ties to Jerusalem holy sites. Twenty-three nations approved the motion on Tuesday, six voted against (including the US, UK and Germany) and 25 abstained. That vote was identical to Thursday’s poll in the committee stage, except that Mexico moved from a yes vote to an abstention.
A Palestinian woman allegedly attempted a stabbing attack at the Tapuah Junction, south of Nablus in the West Bank, on Wednesday, and was shot dead by Israeli police.
PM Netanyahu is set to contact many of the leaders of 21 member nations of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee Executive Board in hopes of swaying them not to support next week’s vote on a resolution that ignores Jewish ties to the Temple Mount. Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Carmel Shama-Hacohen said that Israel faced a stiff battle before that committee because it’s composed of countries with a history of voting against Israel.
A group of four Palestinians, including one who was granted Israeli citizenship on humanitarian grounds, planned to carry out a terror attack at a wedding hall and also kidnap an IDF soldier to be used for leverage in negotiations with Israel, Israeli security officials said on Thursday. The release did not detail what type of attack was planned at the hall or where it was located.
After the declaration of UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova to battle the delegitimization of Israel as well as continue to promote Jewish heritage, Palestinian Foreign Minister Dr. Riad Malki, refuses her comments. Dr. Malki said that Irina Bokova has out stepped the scope of her mandate by speaking out against the last resolution.This unacceptable position is an affront to the will of the Member States who voted to adopt the resolution successfully.
A number of Palestinians were injured on Saturday during clashes that broke out with Israeli forces in the village of Beit Surik to the north-west of Jerusalem. Forces reportedly fired rubber baton rounds and tear gas canisters at the village locals and their homes, causing injuries to a number of locals. They further targeted a medical clinic in the area, causing suffocation to people who were present inside. A number of locals were shot and injured with rubber-coated steel bullets, including a child who was struck in the head.
Marking the United Nations-designated International Day of Eradication of Poverty, the European Union (EU) and the Ministry of Social Development launched a new €1.5 million capacity building program for the improvement of social protection systems in Palestine, an EU statement said on Monday. The new program focuses, in particular, on the effectiveness and coherence of Palestine’s social protection system through focusing on improving the social services that in turn will contribute to the goal of ending poverty in all its forms in Palestine, in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The poor performance of the Tunisian financial sector, which is fragmented and dominated by the state is a major challenge for the Tunisian economy. According to the report published by the African Development Bank (AfDB) under the theme: “Addressing Together the Bank 5 for Transforming North Africa.” As the one of March 2015, the capital asset ratio for the banking system was 9.5% less than the statutory requirement of 10%, due to the 3.5% ratio for state-owned banks, the report reads. The document notes that “Poor governance in the Tunisian banking sector has led to inadequate risk monitoring, a poor diversification of credit portfolios and an unusually high rate of bad debts (16% of loans in 2015, down from 24.2% in 2011 but high compared to the ratios recorded in other regional countries).
The state has not identified all of its land property and does not have an accurate map of them, 60 years after independence, Mabrouk Kourchid, Secretary of State to the Minister of Finance, responsible for State Property and Land Affairs said in an interview with TAP
Across Tripoli, extra check points were springing up this evening because of the Presidency Council, reacted angrily to the attempted coup by former members of Libya Dawn’s National Salvation government, by ordering the arrest of the ringleaders. As darkness fell, there were unconfirmed reports of skirmishes between armed groups. PC chief, Faiez Serraj, who was with his colleagues in Tunis, yesterday, when Khalifa Ghwell launched his coup by seizing the old parliament building in the Rixos, chaired a meeting this afternoon at the prime ministry building in Sikka Road.
The Libyan Investment Authority has not ruled out an appeal after a London judge dismissed its $1.2billion claim against Goldman Sachs over the total collapse of high-risk derivatives investments. In a judgement, Mrs Justice Rose ruled that the US investment bank had not misled the LIA about the risks involved and had not used undue influence in order to secure deals from which it reaped some $200 million in profits while the LIA lost everything.
Clashes have erupted in the Libyan capital between militias loyal to a UN-backed government and those supporting a rival administration that had ruled Tripoli until March this year, said Libyan security officials on Sunday. The clashes, which began late Saturday, continued Sunday. The United States affirmed that is concerned about reports of the use of force to seize the offices of National Accord government in Tripoli.
US aircraft hit Daesh targets with more 30 strikes over the last three days on the Libyan city of Sirte as pro-government forces push into its last militant-held districts, the US military said on Monday. Libyan forces are close to ending a six-month campaign to liberate Sirte from the Daesh group, which took over the city more than a year after taking advantage of factional infighting that emerged after the fall of strongman Muammer Qadhafi in 2011. Forces mostly from nearby Misrata city are pushing ahead street by street, facing snipers and suicide bombers. They are helped by US air strikes since August and co-ordination with small teams of Western special forces on the ground. On Sunday, Libyan forces recaptured the city’s Cambo area, and swept out tunnels used by militants to hide and prepare ambushes, and seized a field hospital. They found charred bodies of militants hit by air strikes.
The artillery of the Khalifa Haftar-led Dignity Operation forces have renewed the shelling on civilian houses in Ganfudah, a source at the Benghazi Shura Council reported. The source said the bombing of the neighbourhood came from different axes by the Dignity Operation forces that were positioned in the “customs area” that overlooks Ganfudah neighbourhood in Benghazi. “A foreign warplane was hovering above the Ganfudah district but did not carry any attacks” the sources added.
The very worrying standoff in Tripoli must be ended by peaceful means Martin Kobler reccomended for the neighbors of Libya, adding that the country’s situation had become increasingly delicate in the last seven months. Kobler was in the Niger capital Niamey yesterday talking to the ninth ministerial meeting of countries bordering Libya.
Egypt passed legislation on Monday to crack down on people traffickers linked to a major surge in the numbers of migrants departing from the country’s Mediterranean coast on often disastrous sea journeys to Europe. This law is the first major official step by the largest Arab nation toward developing a strategy to combat what has turned into a growing smuggling industry along its northern seaboard. It imposes prison terms and fines on those found guilty of smuggling potential migrants or acting as brokers or middlemen. It also imposes prison sentences on those who provide shelter to trafficked migrants, and gather, transport or otherwise facilitate their journey.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday responded to criticism from his wife about his leadership, saying “she belongs to my kitchen”. Buhari said this while addressing the press following talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel during a visit to Berlin, Germany. “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room,” Buhari said while standing next to Merkel, who seemed to glare at him.
The Islamic State-allied faction of Boko Haram has reportedly expressed its willingness to negotiate assaqwesasasdazxzxzszathe release of 83 more Chibok girls after freeing 21 of the more than 200 abductees last week. According to SABC, Presidential Spokesperson Garba Shehu disclosed the development, adding that the Nigerian government was willing to broker a deal with the group. The ISIS-allied splinter group said the rest of the kidnapped Chibok girls were with the part of Boko Haram under the control of Shekau, according to the report.
Boko Haram on Monday claimed it killed 20 soldiers in northeastern Nigeria, in violence marring the celebrations following the release of some of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls.
Following incessant attacks on some communities in Southern Kaduna, a member of the House of Representatives, Barrister Sunday Mashall Katung, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare total war on the killer herders who have in the last couple of months continued to launch attacks on the people of Southern Kaduna.
An American NGO worker was kidnapped on Friday night in the Niger town of Abalak, northeast of the capital Niamey, before being taken by his abductors to Mali. The security force said that it is too early to determine the identity of the kidnappers, who have returned to Mali. The authorities have put the region on maximum alert”. Northern Mali, which fell under the control of al-Qaeda-linked jihadi groups in 2012 before a French-led military intervention pushed them out, remains subject to attacks by jihadists. But this it is the first time that a US national has been kidnapped in Niger.
An US aid worker kidnapped in Niger is likely being held by jihadists from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao), the country’s Interior Minister said Sunday. Jeffery Woodke – the first American to be kidnapped in the West African country – was seized at gunpoint from his home in the central town of Abalak on Friday. Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum told AFP that Niger’s forces had tracked the kidnappers across the border into Mali, towards the region of Menaka which is controlled by the al-Qaeda linked Mujao.
Niger’s Interior and Public Security Minister says that gunmen attacked Koutouake prison that holds jihadists and were repelled by security forces. The attack comes days after suspected extremists abducted an American aid worker, killing two people before fleeing with the man towards the border with Mali. Landlocked Niger is surrounded by instability and threats of extremist violence by Nigeria’s Boko Haram insurgents to the south, al-Qaeda-linked Islamic extremists in Mali to the west and jihadists in Libya to the north.
The Koutoukalé Prison located near the border between Niger and Mali repulsed an attack by Nigerian security forces Monday, October 17. The site of Mauritanian information Alakhbar, traditional communication channel of the jihadist groups in the Sahel, on Wednesday received a claim for the attack on behalf of the Islamic State group.
Malian Army spokesperson says four soldiers have been killed and nine wounded after armed men attacked a convoy in the central Segou region. Colonel Abdoulaye Sidibe said an army vehicle hit a land mine on Thursday, and assailants then shot at the convoy traveling between Diabaly and Nampala. He said three of the nine wounded soldiers are in serious condition. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but maybe it has ties to the al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine extremist group.
Petrobras, which hasn’t adjusted gasoline and diesel prices for more than a year, will set prices at or above parity with international levels, Parente said in an interview with Bloomberg. The company plans make changes more frequently on factors including international prices, the exchange rate and its market share, he said. From now on, Petrobras will only benefit from the gap between domestic prices and the international market.
The Argentine government feels “upset and deeply disappointed” with the announced British military exercises in the Falklands/Malvinas, which includes the launching of missiles, but nevertheless the government will continue working “to build the opportunity of a dialogue which eliminates the presumptions of conflict” with the UK.
Argentina’s main state-run bank said it lowered its headline interest rates for loans to businesses on Monday amid expectations that inflation will begin to slow in Latin America’s third-largest economy, a move that will help put credit back within firms’ reach. Banco Nacion, the country’s largest financial institution and which also acts as a development bank, set its annual nominal reference rate for business loans at 27%, down from 32%.
Argentine foreign minister Susana Malcorra said that the recent diplomatic row with the UK over military exercises in the Falkland Islands shows that the consequences of the war persist and reiterated her disappointment with London for not giving the Argentine government any previous warning.
CDC, the main colombian political force behind the campaign to vote NO in the referendum held on 2 October, pointed out that the statement from the NYT editorial constitutes an offence for the millions of Colombians who opposed a peace accord which granted total impunity to those responsible for crimes against humanity and even rewarded them with political participation.
Russian warships are expected to sail through the Channel next week at a time of heightened tensions between Britain and Moscow over the war in Syria. The navy said it and Nato routinely monitor other nations’ fleets when they enter UK waters, but the voyage comes amid western anger at Russia’s alleged complicity in bombing civilians. The row has fuelled concerns that Russia will use the naval journey as a show of military strength, with reports suggesting fighter jets may launch drills from the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier.
The UE divided the issue of more anti-Russian sanction, as Washington demands a “harsh response” to Russia’s support for the Syrian government’s anti-terrorist operations. On Sunday, UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, and US Secretary of State, John Kerry, threatened to impute more sanctions on Russia, which is providing military support to the Syrian government in its fights against militant Islamic terrorism. On Monday, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said that none of the European Union’s member states has proposed the introduction of sanctions against Russia for the Syrian Crisis.
Sergey Rudskoy, Chief of the main operations directorate of Russia’s General Staff, said that Russia is ready to cease operations in Aleppo at any moment to allow medics access to the Syrian city and ensure the evacuation of injured civilians. He added that Russian and Syrian forces will refrain from military activity in Aleppo starting from 8am till 4pm local time of the 20th of October to allow the passage to civilians and the withdrawal of militants from the city.
Journalist from Ukraine’s Ukrinform News Agency Roman Sushchenko, who has been arrested in Moscow, was left without food and water on the first day of his detention, and he has lost about six kilograms while in custody, according to Russia’s Novaya Gazeta, Sushchenko told them he had lost about six kilograms.
Only a year ago, in 2014, the most important route into Europe for migrants was across the Mediterranean sea, in boats of up to 800 passengers from the North African coast to Italy (Lampedusa sas primary destination) or Malta: the southern route. So far in 2015, migration along the alternative eastern route has rised.
Matter of fact, during 2012 a fence was erected on the border between Turkey and Greece, forcing migrants to take boats from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands or travel north to the Bulgarian border. In 2014, Bulgaria began building its own fence to prevent this.
In September 2015 alone, 156,000 immigrants took the eastern route compared to just 7,000 in the same month the previous year.
The Schengen area makes things easier once the migrants have entered Hungary or Slovenia, but, on the other hand, things are getting much harder to deal, to administrate for these countries. In early July, Hungary began building a fence on its Serbian border, forcing the migrants on the west route through Croatia, often entering Hungary from there and a second fence was built on the Croatian border in October, pushing people up to Slovenia. Actually, Slovenia is building a fence itself. Balcans countries are struggling in order to face the situation. Albanian Government has already stated that the country will make what’s in it’s possibilty to mitigate the pressure in the area.
European countries are forced, under pressure, to find long term solutions, Germany in first place.
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor and most powerful woman in the planet, is facing risks on her own political body, over migrants crise . When migrants began to arrive in large numbers over the summer, she announced publicly that they were to be welcomed rather than turned away. Considering that an imponent number of Syrians living in Turkey have been able to make a living only because of temporary employment or casual labor, but , as Turkish economy has begun to deteriorate, unemployment has grown by being unaffordable, those Syrians are also leaving Turkey. So, what’s next?
Germany is home to the vast majority of past Turkish immigrants into Europe, and tensions have long been high over the issue. Syrians have a explicit and strong case for asylum, and it is extremely hard to repatriate them. The European Union wants to keep the Balkan countries from confronting one another over migrant flows. At the same time, the bloc wants to keep borders within Europe as open as possible to preserve the union’s structure while apportioning them fairly across the Continent. The Oct. 25 summit likely discussed all of the possible solutions along the migrant route and most summits during last two years have tried the same.
As temperatures drop immigrant flow will arrest the emergency. The latest flows have also revealed a drop in the portion of migrants from Syria and a rise in Afghan and African migrants, partly because of cheap Turkish Airlines flights to North Africa. Unlike Syrians, authorities will find it much easier to send back migrants from these points of origin.
But the fact is that war keeps on radicalizing in Syrian territories, which is much more than a preview on warmer season to come: migrants are most likely not stopping their desperate journeys.
By Eleonora Vio
ISTANBUL, 4 November 2015 (IRIN) – Not so long ago, Syria had an education system that was the envy of the Arab world and was reflected in its 90 percent literacy rate. But education has become yet another casualty of a civil war now in its fifth year.
Nearly half of the four million Syrians who have fled their country are living in neighbouring Turkey where authorities initially welcomed hundreds of thousands of the refugees in camps near the Syrian border. Many have since become tired of camp life and moved to cities in search of a more dignified existence.
Istanbul alone hosts more than 330,000 Syrians, according to 2014 figures from Turkey’s interior ministry, but with international aid mainly going to those living in the camps, urban refugees receive little assistance and live in poor conditions that are worsening as their exile continues and they are barred from the formal employment sector. Their children are paying the highest price for this enforced limbo.
Earlier this year, in the run-up to elections, the Turkish government backtracked on plans to grant Syrians in the country, who have only temporary protection status, the right to work. The government did adopt legislation aimed at improving their access to health care and education, but according to NGOs working on the ground, the majority of Syrian children still aren’t in school.
“Unfortunately, despite this new regulation, in Istanbul only 20,000 out of 80,000 [Syrian] children have access to school and amongst them less than 30 percent are enrolled in free Turkish schools,” said Suleiman Alaaraj, a Syrian staff member of the Syrian Commission for Education (SCE), which provides education services both in Free Syrian Army-controlled areas of Syria and in Turkey, with funding from Qatar Charity and the Islamic Bank.
Some of the Turkish schools simply don’t have space to admit more children while the language difference and Syrians’ lack of the required documents or information about enrolment procedures have also presented barriers.
Karyn Thomas, the founder of Small Projects Istanbul, an NGO based in Fatih, a working-class district with a high number of Syrian residents, noted that “the lack of the right to work for adults has a direct and strong impact on their children’s right to education.”
“People have no jobs, and when they do they are underpaid and exploited, and they can’t afford to pay for their children’s tuition fees”
“People have no jobs, and when they do they are underpaid and exploited, and they can’t afford to pay for their children’s tuition fees,” she told IRIN. “The result is that many young children either stay at home looking after their siblings and household or are forced to work and beg in the streets to provide their families with some income.”
Across the city there are 60 Syrian schools (officially referred to as “temporary education centres”) where classes are taught in Arabic using a curriculum created by the opposition Syrian Interim Government, but only six of them are free. Some are located inside mosques and private or public buildings, but often only for a limited period of time before being moved somewhere else. SCE provides the schools with free textbooks, the content of which have been adapted by the Free Syrian Army and purged of what they view as the Syrian regime’s propaganda.
Reema Adadi is a Syrian teacher at a school located in a small mosque in Fatih. “The problem with this school is that each class is composed of kids of different ages,” she said, adding that attendance is sporadic because the children are often forced to work and contribute to the family’s income.
“[There are also] children who suffer from different traumas and should be taught by specialised personnel,” she told IRIN.
In addition to the Turkish and Syrian schools, there are several private schools funded by secular or religious organisations, which cost between US$590 and $690 per child for each academic year. They are often products of community-based initiatives associated with the Syrian opposition in Turkey, and although they are usually well managed, some are still not registered with or recognised by the Turkish government.
Syrian families with several children and no regular income may be able to send one child to school “in the best-case scenario” said Alaaraj of SCE. “In the worst one, if perhaps they live far away from the school and must pay additional money for transport, they drop the whole idea.”
Alaaraj stressed that Syrian children not in school are “easy prey for the radical and criminal groups that are booming across the city.”
Small Projects Istanbul runs an education project aimed at helping Syrians, particularly single mothers who are struggling to make ends meet, enrol their children at Arab-language schools.
“We also hold Turkish classes for them and their children to cope with their daily lives and integrate into Turkish society,” said Thomas.
With limited funding, she added, “we do what we can and, unfortunately, it’s only a drop [in the ocean] compared to the Syrian schooling catastrophe we are facing.”
“To not end up with a whole generation of young Syrians without education, and zero prospects for their future inside or outside their home country, there is just one solution,” Thomas told IRIN. “The Turkish government must give Syrians the right to work, and therefore a chance to build a decent life here. Until then, the international community must provide them with financial help, and bring education back to the top of Syrians’ priorities – as it used to be before the war.”