Syrian lecturers demand higher salaries in rebel-held areas

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ALEPPO — Areas beneath management of the Turkey-backed opposition within the Aleppo countryside have in current weeks witnessed protests wherein tons of of laborers and lecturers took half.

The protesting lecturers known as for training reform and a rise of their month-to-month salaries, that are supplied by the Turkish authorities, as their salaries are depreciating by the day amid a decline within the Turkish lira alternate fee towards the US greenback. The lecturers’ strike has raised issues over the collapse of the academic course of within the space.

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The protests and strike began on Oct. 14 in a variety of cities within the countryside of Aleppo.

On Oct. 19, al-Bab metropolis’s native council, in addition to the councils of the cities of Qabasin and Bazza in Aleppo’s countryside, threatened lecturers who went on strike with having their salaries slashed and being dismissed in the event that they proceed to strike.

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On the identical day, a Teachers’ Syndicate was introduced to arrange the protest motion for lecturers.

On Oct. 20 in al-Bab metropolis, protesting lecturers known as for an improved training course of and known as lecturers the “protectors of the revolution and the ones who achieve its goals.”

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Activists and media professionals expressed their assist for lecturers on social networking websites, as non secular and business organizations, native actors and others introduced their solidarity with the lecturers.

The metropolis of Azaz in Aleppo’s northern countryside witnessed on Oct. 21 a protest to assist the lecturers’ strike. The strikes had been held in a number of different cities as effectively, together with Marea, Afrin, Sawran, Akhtarin, Jarablus and inside displaced individuals camps.

On Oct. 23, lecturers introduced in an announcement they had been transferring to a partial strike after they had been pressured by the directorates of training of the Turkish-backed native councils and threatened with dismissal in the event that they continued their open strike.

The assertion mentioned lecturers would now “shift from an open strike to a partial one, and the peaceful movement is to continue as work resumes on Oct. 25.”

Omar Laila, a spokesperson for the lecturers within the displaced individuals camps within the countryside of Azaz, instructed Al-Monitor, “Workers in the education sector are suffering from the depreciation of their monthly wages, which are no longer sufficient to cover the living costs and the needs of their families.”

He added, “A teacher’s monthly salary is 750 Turkish liras, which is equivalent to $78. This amount barely covers one week’s worth of a teacher’s need. Teachers must receive a monthly salary of at least 2,000 Turkish liras ($210) in order to provide for their families’ basic needs.”

On Oct. 26, the greenback exchanged for 9.55 Turkish liras, in keeping with Doviz.com, which lists alternate charges and currencies.

Teachers within the Aleppo countryside endure from poverty and inadequate wages, which forces them to enterprise into different fields, specifically building, porterage and agriculture, in alternate for low wages.

Mohammed Bakour, a trainer at a faculty in Marea, instructed Al-Monitor, “My family consists of five members, meaning I need more than 1,500 Turkish liras ($157) per month to cover my household needs.”

“I get a month-to-month wage of 750 Turkish liras from the varsity, and I’ve to work outdoors college hours in numerous professions, equivalent to building and porterage, in return for a each day wage that doesn’t exceed $2 or $3. Otherwise, it’s simply unattainable to get by,” Bakour said. “Most of my fellow teachers have also ventured into other professions to make ends meet.”

Mohammed al-Mustafa, a trainer from town of al-Bab, instructed Al-Monitor lecturers face a number of challenges. “Chief among these is the low monthly salary and the failure of local educational institutions to support teachers.”

He added, “The aim of the protests is to improve the level of education, improve the teacher’s conditions, guarantee the teacher’s rights, and provide good schools capable of offering educational means and accommodating large numbers of students.”

Mahmoud Qassem, a civil activist from Azaz, told Al-Monitor, “The teachers’ demands are rightful, and we must help them obtain their rights and have their salaries increased because this negatively affects the educational process. Teachers who have had to take on a second job cannot perform well at school, meaning our children will inevitably be harmed.”

The Turkish government’s support for education in opposition areas in Aleppo dates back to April 2017 after the end of Operation Euphrates Shield. Teachers would receive a monthly salary of no more than 500 Turkish liras, which at the time amounted to about $150.

In the second half of 2018, the Turkish lira fell against the dollar and teachers’ salaries were no longer sufficient to make ends meet. The first protest held by teachers demanding an increase in salaries was held in a number of areas in the Aleppo countryside in late 2018.

The Turkish government responded to the demands back then, and at the beginning of 2019, the salaries of all employees in the region — whether they worked in local councils or imams of mosques, among others — were raised. The salaries of teachers were raised by 50%, bringing them to 700 Turkish liras (currently $73) for a single teacher, and 750 Turkish liras (currently $78) for a married teacher.

In mid-2020, the Syrian opposition started using the Turkish lira instead of the Syrian pound in the areas under its control in northwestern Syria. Teachers’ salaries began to decline amid the rising costs of products. Things obtained worse lately after the Turkish lira went into one other dive towards the greenback.

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