Future of N. Syria’s Christian Schools Questioned

09/13/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Syria’s northeast has developed into an autonomous region since the civil war began in 2011. As the civil war enters into what many experts regard as a new phase with the Assad regime increasingly in control, the future of Syria’s northeast is in question.

This area is traditionally home to many Christians, most of whom are Syriac. Their religion, culture, and language is distinct from the governing Kurdish authorities. Beginning mid-August, local reports indicate that over a dozen Syriac Christian schools were closed by the authorities. Updated reporting indicates that on September 12, these schools were scheduled to reopen.

The closure of these schools stems from a two pronged controversy regarding the curriculum. The Kurdish authorities wanted to obligate the teaching of the Kurdish language to all students. For Christians in the area, Kurdish is not normally spoken.

The second point of contention is whether Christian schools should use the state accredited curriculum or the Kurdish curriculum. If the Christian schools continue with the state curriculum, the students’ diplomas are recognized outside of the NE region. Diplomas earned through the Kurdish curriculum are not recognized outside of the autonomous area.

It is not immediately clear what kind of agreement was reached regarding the reopening of Christian schools. More broadly, the question of the northeast’s relationship with the rest of Syria under Assad is something that will have noteworthy impact on the area’s Christian schools.

For interviews with Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org

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