Conflicts & War

War closes classrooms in Nagorno-Karabakh

By Pablo Gonzalez

Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh, Oct 15 (efe-epa).- A school in Stepanakert, capital of the disputed region of Nagorno Karabakh, has been destroyed by the war.

The playground is filled with craters and unexploded shells instead of children, most of whom have been evacuated to neighboring Armenia.

“If kindergartens, schools, universities become targets, one cannot talk about justice or hope anymore,” the region’s education, science and culture minister Lusine Gharakhanyan tells Efe.

A total of 25,000 schoolchildren have been left without classes after the outbreak of war on 27 September along with around 5,000 university students and 2,000 at technical colleges, she says.

A Russian professor at the city’s university, named only as Nune, said the building which is next to the defense ministry was hit on the first day of the clashes.

“It was a Sunday. Imagine it was a weekday, with all the students in class,” she tells Efe.

“The traumas of war must be faced with the knowledge that we are not victims, even though they attack us with their hordes, we are the victors. They have not been able to defeat us,” she adds.

The area’s human rights ombudsman Artak Beglaryan has branded attacks on schools and kindergartens as war crimes and has reported “indiscriminate and deliberate fire” by the Azerbaijani army.

Most schoolchildren and students have left for Armenia, a few others have taken refuge in safer areas of Karabakh.

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