Hundreds of children killed and wounded in Syria school attacks in 2014

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children stand in the entryway of their tent shelter, in the Bab Al Salame camp for internally displaced persons, near the border with Turkey, in Aleppo Governorate. © UNICEF/NYHQ2014-0003/Diffidenti

Attacks on schools in Syria killed at least 160 children in 2014 and injured another 343, according to UNICEF.

As the conflict approaches its fifth year, the UN Children's Fund spokesperson Christophe Boulierac said that the numbers were "probably underestimated" owing to the difficulty of getting accurate data.

Teachers have also been killed in the attacks but there is no information on the number of victims.

In three governorates – Aleppo, Deir-ez-Zour and Raqqa – schools are closed and at least 670,000 primary and lower high school age children no longer go to class, Boulierac added.

Islamic State fighters are responsible for schools shutting down in rural areas of Deir-ez-Zour and Aleppo, UNICEF believes.

Spokesperson Boulierac added that some of the closures came after the self-proclaimed caliphate issued a decree last December:

"There were some reports that circulated according to which Islamic State wanted to change the curriculum of schools…and that's one of the reasons, of course there were other schools that had to close for insecurity reasons because of attacks, but the fact that the Islamic State said that the curriculum needed to be reshaped or reconceived explains why many schools had to close."

UNICEF believes that throughout Syria up to 1.6 million children are either out of school or not attending school regularly.

At a press briefing in Geneva the UN agency issued a reminder that all children had a right to education and that they should not have to fear injury or death when going to school.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration: 1’38″


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