Students from the Syriac Christian minority, dressed in traditional outfits to participate in a folkloric dance show after school, attend a class at a school in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli on August 30, 2018. AFP / Delil souleiman
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Kurdish authorities in Syria's diverse northeast are facing swelling anger from the area's Syriac Christians after shutting down over a dozen schools run by the ancient minority. At the heart of the dispute is a debate over whether to use the new school curriculum championed by the Kurdish-led autonomous administration or stick to the accredited system used by Damascus.After regime forces withdrew from swaths of Syria's northeast early on in the seven-year war, Kurds began building their own institutions, including police forces and schools.The dispute prompted Kurdish authorities last week to shut down 14 schools in Qamishli, Hassakeh, and Malikieh that were supportive of teaching the state curriculum.Syria's Christian community made up about 10 percent of the country's pre-war population of 22 million people.Negotiations are also ongoing between the Kurdish administration on one side and supporters of the state curriculum, predominantly Syriac Orthodox Church leaders, on another.While Syria's state diplomas are accredited and recognized elsewhere, Kurdish degrees likely wouldn't be.
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