Mortar Shell Hits Damascus School

A mortar shell hits the French school in the Syrian capital, children in class miraculously escape without injuries.

Elad Benari ,

Destruction in Syria
Destruction in Syria
AFP photo

A mortar shell hit the French school in the Syrian capital Damascus on Sunday without causing any injuries to children in class at the time, officials told AFP.

“A mortar shell landed on the chimney of a classroom around 9:00 a.m. No one was hurt but the windows shattered and the walls cracked,” school receptionist Bashir Oneiz told the news agency.

Aline Farah, a nurse at the Charles de Gaulle school in the upscale central district of Mazzeh, said students were in class when the mortar struck.

“It was a miracle that no one was hurt, neither students nor teachers nor employees,” she added.

“They were all crying. They were terrified. We took them to an underground shelter,” said Farah, adding that the sound of the explosion had been “very strong”.

“When the blast hit, the parents came to pick up their children,” she told AFP.

Only the school's staff remained behind after the parents left with their children, according to the report.

The only foreign school still open in the Syrian capital, the Charles de Gaulle currently has about 220 students, down from a pre-war population of 900.

It caters both to Syrian students and the children of a few remaining foreigners living in the country despite a brutal 32-month conflict between the government and rebels.

Children in Syria have not been spared from the cruel acts in that country’s civil war.

In August, a BBC team inside Syria witnessed the aftermath of an incendiary bomb being dropped onto a school playground in the north of the country.

The attack left scores of children with napalm-like burns over their bodies, and the victims were described as behaving “like the walking dead.”

A British think-tank said last week that more than 11,000 children have died in Syria's civil war, including 128 killed by chemical weapons in a notorious attack and hundreds targeted by snipers.

A video released last week illustrates the impossible reality of the life children live in Syria.

The video was shot in the Jubar neighborhood of Damascus, which suffers from shelling by the Syrian military. The children, aged up to 12 or 13, are standing in the street and telling the cameraman about their harsh experiences during the civil war, and about injuries to other children that they have witnessed.

As they are speaking, a loud explosion takes place close to where the group is standing, and thick smoke envelops the street. The children and the cameraman run away from the location and the filming resumes again in a safer place, in one of the homes nearby.

Throughout the civil war in Syria, atrocities have been committed both by the Syrian army as well as by the rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Al-Assad.

Several months ago, a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Assad’s regime was publicly beheaded, with the execution filmed and posted to the Internet for all to see.

In another recent incident, Jihadist rebels in Syria had to ask for "understanding and forgiveness" after they beheaded the wrong man.