Children Killed by Airstrike During School Art Exhibition in Syria

The Aleppo elementary school was about to open a student art show.

An elementary school in Aleppo, Syria, had just put the finishing touches on an exhibition of student artworks—many of them inspired by the country’s ongoing conflict—when an airstrike ordered by the government took out the building. As reported by the New York Times, at least 20 are dead, while the Associated Press claims that local media reports put the death toll from the April 30 attack at 25.

A statement from UNICEF, the United Nations children’s rights agency, decried the attacks, saying “every day, across Syria, children who are simply trying to go about their everyday lives are being killed and maimed by indiscriminate attacks on populated areas.”

The exhibition, which was set to officially open later on Wednesday, was organized by a local artist, identified by the Times as “a painter and volunteer with a psychological support group called Fingerprints of Hope,” who donated her own art supplies to the children. Uniting students from several local schools, the show gave them a rare opportunity to express their fear, pain, and hope.


An artwork from the student art exhibition that was bombed in Aleppo.
Still from Shaam Network S.N.N video.


As translated by the Times, a flier advertising the show described the children’s work as a reflection of the “blood and pain” they had experienced, but expressed the belief that their hope and perseverance “stands as a blockade in front of death.”

A number of the drawings featured disturbing elements such as tanks, gunfire, and dead bodies—a haunting reminder of the violence that children in the war-torn country must live with every day, as well as a chillingly prescient vision of the attacks that killed many of the young artists.

A video on YouTube shows the destroyed Ein Jalout school—bombed out remnants of classrooms and hallways, puddles of blood amid the rubble. While some of the carefully hung artwork appears untouched, other drawings lay scattered on the floor.

The school’s principal and the artist in charge of the exhibition are both among the wounded.

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