Iraq says 1,500 schools damaged in Anbar

Provincial council blames ISIL for destruction, saying it will take time and money to rebuild the infrastructure.

    Iraq says 1,500 schools damaged in Anbar
    A bullet riddled school which was used as a base for ISIL is seen in the Garma district of Anbar province [AFP]

    More than 1,500 schools have been damaged or destroyed as a result of the conflict in Iraq's Anbar province alone, according to an Iraqi official.

    Anbar stretches from Iraq's western borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia all the way east along the Euphrates to the outskirts of Baghdad.

    "Anbar has been hit badly ... . More than 1,500 schools have been partially or completely destroyed," Eid Ammash, a spokesman for the provincial council, told AFP news agency.

    "Most of these schools were targeted directly by the criminal gangs of Daesh."


    RELATED: More than three million Iraqis displaced by fighting


    Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

    "The others are places that Daesh used as bases and were targeted by the Iraqi security forces and the coalition air force, or were simply on the frontline of the fighting," Ammash said.

    "It will take a lot of money and at least two and a half years after Anbar is fully retaken from Daesh for these schools to be rebuilt and rehabilitated."

    More than 70 percent of children displaced by Anbar's violence do not have access to education, the UN says [AP]

    He said no area was spared, with damaged schools from Karma, near Baghdad, to al-Qaim on the Syrian border, as well as in areas around the main cities of Ramadi, Fallujah and Haditha.

    The dire state of access to education in Anbar - the country's biggest province - is replicated in several other regions affected by a conflict that has displaced more than three million people.

    According to the latest figures from the UN, more than 70 percent of displaced children do not have access to education.

    "Most schools in affected areas are overcrowded or operating in double and triple shifts to accommodate demand with limited basic classroom amenities," the UN report said.


    Opinion: Beating ISIL: Without identity, Iraqis have no will


    Besides the schools that have been destroyed or damaged, others are occupied by armed groups. Even when they are vacated, the cannot be used until cleared for unexploded ordnance.

    Anbar has been rocked by violence since the beginning of 2014, months before ISIL launched a nationwide offensive that saw it conquer large explanses of the region

    It is currently the main focus of the Iraqi government's efforts to regain lost ground, with large military operations under way in several parts of the province and multiple daily air strikes by jets from the US-led coalition.

     

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.