ISIS shuts down schools in eastern Syria
ISIS has shut all schools in areas it controls in eastern Syria pending a religious revision of the curriculum, residents and a monitoring group said on Friday.
ISIS is tightening its rules on civilian life in Deir al-Zor province, which fell under near-complete control of the Islamist militant group this summer. The government still controls a military airbase and other small pockets.The announcement came on Wednesday, after ISIS held a meeting with school administrators at a local mosque on the outskirts of Deir al-Zor city, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors all sides of the conflict.
“Islamic State informed them that teachers shall undergo a religious instructional course for one month, and that ISIS officials were currently developing a new curriculuminstead of the current ‘infidel’ education,” the Observatory statement said.
At the start of the academic year in September, ISIS revised the school curriculum in areas it controls, eliminating physics and chemistry while promoting Islamic teachings.
Meanwhie, President Barack Obama was to ask legislators on Friday for an additional $3.2 billion to pay for the war against the ISIS group in Iraq and Syria, including funds to train and arm Baghdad government forces, officials said Thursday.
The funds will help cover the cost of replacing bombs in the weeks-long US-led air campaign against ISIS jihadists and assistance for Iraqi Army troops and Kurdish forces battling the ISIS on the ground, two defence officials told AFP.
The air war in Syria and Iraq which commanders say could last years has involved thousands of sorties and hundreds of bombing raids, at a daily cost of $8.3 million, according to the Pentagon.
The commander of the US war against ISIS said Thursday the key to winning the fight will be ending Baghdad’s sectarian rule, not how many American troops are on the ground.
General Lloyd Austin, who runs the air war against the ISIS group as head of Central Command, said he would be prepared to recommend more US troops if he concluded it was necessary, but stressed the Iraqi government’s treatment of Sunnis would be the decisive factor in the outcome of the conflict.
“But I’ll tell you sir, if the governmental piece of this doesn’t work, if the Iraqi leadership cannot find themselves to be inclusive of the Sunnis and the Kurds, no matter how many troops you put on the ground, this is not going to work,” Gen. Austin said at an event organised by the Atlantic Council think tank.
Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front seized three villages from rebels, including a US-backed group, in Syria’s north-western Idlib province, a monitor said on Friday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Al-Nusra had taken control of Sufuhun, Al-Fateera and Hizareen in Idlib, where the jihadist group has been battling other rebels.
At least 40 people have been killed in clashes between Syrian regime forces and Opposition fighters, including Al-Qaeda’s local affiliate in the south of the country, a monitor said Friday.