By Mohamad Misto and Ahmet Aydin
The terrorist organization PKK/PYD is indoctrinating elementary school children in northern Syria into the group's ideology and militancy, according to local teachers and former school officials, and an examination of the schools’ textbooks.
The PYD, an offshoot of the PKK terrorist group, has been doing strict indoctrination of primary school children in the northeastern Hasakah region, where the group silenced opposition groups by threats and force of arms, said the educators, who asked not be named due to security concerns.
The PKK and its Syrian offshoot the PYD are listed as terror groups by Turkey, although the U.S. and EU see only the PKK as a terrorist organization.
According to the teachers and former officials, before the beginning of the new school year, the PKK/PYD suspended most of the teachers who were working under the Syrian regime.
The terrorist group replaced those teachers with around 7,000 of its sympathizers who were trained during the summer in line with their curriculum and textbooks.
Misinformation on Islam
The schools controlled by the PKK/PYD give education through the sixth grade, but this education does not include religion classes.
The terrorist group gives an education to children based on ethnic identity, militarism, and prejudice against Islam.
A fourth grade social studies book argues that “Islam has been straying from its path”. The book also alleges that Kurds have been badly affected by the spread of Islam.
'Children shout slogans every morning'
A Kurdish teacher who asked not to be named said that children are being taught that Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK founder now serving a life sentence in Turkey for terrorism and treason, is a “leader”.
The teacher said: “Every morning before classes, our children have to shout slogans such as, ‘Long live the PYD fight’ and ‘No life without freedom for our leader Ocalan’.”
In various parts of the compulsory textbooks, there are quotations from Ocalan.
Children wearing PKK uniforms are shown on the cover of the social studies textbook and inside sixth grade Kurdish books. This infuses the children with a militarist ethos.
There are also pictures of terrorists who died during clashes in Syria.
Minority schools threatened
Those who want to escape the terrorist group’s propaganda might try to find Armenian and Christian minority schools. But the group has threatened both parents and administrators of those schools.
A parent who did not want to be named said: “Minority schools don’t want to take our children because the organization [PKK] intervenes immediately. They [the PKK] threaten both them and us with punishment.
“There is no alternative. Everyone is forced to send their children to the organization’s schools”.
On Oct. 9, the PKK/PYD carried out a raid at the private Umit and Peace School and on Oct. 10, the private Firat College in Qamishli, and on Oct. 24, a private Armenian school. The terrorist group threatened administrators that they would shut the schools down if they accepted Kurdish students.
On Sunday, the terrorist organization closed a school using a different educational curriculum in Qamishli, leaving around 2,000 children without a school.