As heated debate continues within Syrian regime echelons about “secular” values held by Damascus contradicting the role assigned to the Awqaf Ministry and its increased authority, Russian news agency, Sputnik, circulated a video showing a delegation of clerics from the Russian interfaith complex inaugurating the Martyr Adnan Kolki School in Barzeh, Damascus.
Barzeh was one of the first neighborhoods where anti-Syrian demonstrations took place in 2011. It witnessed fighting that led to the destruction of large areas of the neighborhood, and was subjected to several years of siege until a settlement was reached to remove the armed opposition from the neighborhood in 2017.
Amid a large public and official presence along with the Syrian Deputy Minister of Education and Russian Ambassador Alexander Yevimov, the school’s doors were reopened after its full rehabilitation from damage caused by battles in recent years.
The opening ceremony was also attended by clerics and representatives of religious institutions in Russia and Syria.
According to Sputnik, it was the Russian interfaith fund that sponsored the school’s restoration.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Russian Ambassador to Damascus Alexander Yevimov said that the rehabilitation of the school is a symbolic gift from the Russia, and hoped it will help many Syrian students to return to school.
In turn, Syrian Deputy Minister of Education Dr. Farah al-Mutlaq spoke about interfaith harmony, saying that it presents the strongest response against terrorism.
As Russian influence continues to grow in Syria, Moscow succeeded in getting Russian listed to be taught as a second language in Syrian schools.
This comes at a time the Syrian education system is suffering an astronomical corruption scandal involving billions of Syrian pounds.
The Syrian education system is also dogged by a weakened staff which was hit by low salaries and a compulsory military draft at a time the number of students is skyrocketing.