The al-Qaeda affiliated group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) told the girls in a Syrian village they control that they cannot attend school unless they wear Islamic clothing. The boys were told to wear traditional Islamic clothing as well.
In Tweihineh, “the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant… has forbidden girls in primary education and above from attending school unless they wear fully Islamic clothing including an abaya (gown), gloves and a veil,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
They must wear “traditional Pakistani clothing and a cap”, said the Observatory, which relies on activists, doctors and lawyers across Syria for its information.
This same group torched and destroyed churches in northern Syria over the weekend. Northern Coalition, the main opposition group against Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, does not associate with ISIL and claims they do not belong in the revolution. ISIL is also believed to be responsible for kidnappings and public executions of other opposition members and civilians.
“The Syrian people rose against (President) Bashar al-Assad because they aspired for freedom and to rid themselves from dictatorship, not to replace one form of oppression with another,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
By committing abuses “and war crimes” in rebel-controlled parts of Syria, “ISIL is doing Assad’s regime a great service”, he added.
“For hundreds of years, people in Syria have lived side by side with each other, and we believe in freedom of religion.”
UNICEF said the majority of children in Syria are not in school because the buildings are destroyed or are housing displaced families.