A decision issued by Syria's Prime Minister's Office to dismiss teachers in al-Hasakah province, on August 13, 2018. Photo credit: a teacher affected by the decision.
Al-Hasakah: Arbitrary Dismissal of at Least 80 Teachers after Years of Service
Teachers were Fired Mainly for Evading Reserve Military Service and Various other Reasons
More than 80 teachers across the al-Hasakah province, were fired between early 2018 and November 1 the same year, mainly for evading the military reserve service, according to testimonies obtained by STJ.
Office of the Syrian Prime Minister promulgated a decision to dismiss 13 teachers in al-Hasakah for failure to perform the military reserve service, on August 13, 2018,
Similar successive decisions were issued at the beginning of 2018 against more than 65 teachers for the same reasons, a source from Syria's education directorate said. The same story also occurred in 2012.
Neither the Educational Directorate, of the Syrian government, nor the schools’ managements had formally informed the teachers about their dismissal decisions. Moreover, the teachers were deprived the right to obtain social insurance and pension, as well as compensations, as they only received the salary of their last month of service.
The Syrian government has earlier, fired teachers in various parts of the country, including 95 from Daraa province without stating reasons.
Similarly, in September 2018, mass dismissal decisions, fines and imprisonment sentences were issued against some 400 civil servants in al-Qunaitra province, including about 50 teachers, who were sacked under various allegations, such as the involvement in terrorist activities.
In As-Sweida province also, the Syrian government dismissed 71 teachers on August 13, 2018, for refusing to join the military reserves.
- “I got fired after 12 years of service and denied my social insurance and pension”
On August 13, 2018, Syria's Prime Minister's Office issued a decision to fire 201 teachers across Syria, including 13 in al-Hasakah, for failing to join the military reserve service. The decision has been circulated recently.
A teacher, 38, from al-Hasakah said that he was fired after 21 years of service in an elementary school, as he got a permanent contract in 2006. He said:
"On August 1, 2018, I headed to the educational directorate to receive my salary. The accountant told me that I have to check my military status at the 'al-Jahziya' department first. Indeed, I went there, and an employee told me that I was enlisted for reserve military service, and that I had two choices; either to join the military reserves or to ask the recruitment branch in al-Hasakah to grant me an exemption. The employee gave me my salary for July 2018, saying it was the last I would receive if I did not settle my situation. Being married with children who count on me, I tried to get an exemption from the recruitment branch through a mediator, but to no avail. On September 1, 2018, I went to the educational directorate again to receive my salary, the accountant told me I was dismissed under a decision issued by Syria's Prime Minister's Office on August 13, 2018, for refusing to join the military reserves. I went to the archive department and they told me the same. I was denied the right to obtain the social insurance and the pension."
In early November 2018, the witness submitted a plea to the recruitment branch in al-Hasakah to obtain an exemption, but he was told that an amnesty should be issued for those who evaded the reserve service first, which also would revoke his dismissal decision automatically. However, nothing changed yet.
- “The number of teachers fired recently under single expulsions, is two times more than the number already mentioned”
A source from the educational directorate in al-Hasakah reported that in early June 2018, Syria's Prime Minister's Office called-up 581 teachers for the military reserve service across Syria. The teachers whom were fired in al-Hasakah were amongst those ordered to be enlisted. However, only few of them acquiesced, while others submitted pleas to be exempted but to no avail. They were all dismissed by a decision issued on August 13, 2018.
"The recent decision included 13 teachers from al-Hasakah. They are Median Abbas Jammoul, Mostafa Mohammed al-Mansour, Qutaibah Hasan al-Mesri, Riyad Ahmad Attalla, Mu'taz Adel Kheder, Ahmad Ibrahim Qrah Bjeq, Mahmoud Khalid an-Naes, Abderrazaq Mohammed al-Ismael, Firas Hussein al-Ismael, Elias Jarji Hamawi, Basem Mohammed Ali, Bassam Sajee' Shiban, Hussam Ali Salem.
However, the number of teachers fired between August and September 2018 is twice as high. Al-Jahziya department called-up teachers who were born in 1976 for the reserve service granting them only two months to join or settle their situations. After the period expired, the educational directorate fired those who evaded."
- “I became a day laborer at Mabrouka camp to support my family”
A teacher, 34, from al-Hasakah confirmed that he worked for 13 years as an Arabic teacher in an elementary school in Sinjaq Sa'doun village near Amouda city and fired recently in early September 2018, under a single dismissal decision.
"I started teaching in 2003. I was appointed by the state in 2005 after I completed the mandatory military service. On September 1, 2018, I was fired after 13 years of employment. The accountant of the Education Commission in Qamishli/Qameshlo city told me that the educational directorate suspended my salary, and that I had to go and enquired there. Indeed, I went there and received my salary for August 2018. I was told to join the military reserves otherwise I would lose my job. I refused to do so since I have a family and I do not know to where I would be dispatched and how long I would stay. I submitted for an exemption but that did not work. I was deprived the right to obtain social insurance and the pension. Currently, I work for daily wages in a makeshift camp in Mabrouka city in order to make ends meet for my family."
During 2018, several teachers in al-Hasakah were fired under single decisions for refusing to join the military reserve service, the witness added. 12 teachers were fired in Amouda city alone between August and September 2018.
"On November 7, 2018, I telephoned the accountant in Qameshlo-based educational committee, which affiliates to the educational directorate in al-Hasakah, enquiring if there was an update concerning the dismissal decision. He told me there would be an amnesty for the teachers fired across Syria, adding that teachers in al-Hasakah would be probably included by the amnesty in early December 2018. The accountant said we would be compensated for the months we missed our salary. I hope that is true
because I desperately need the salary that covered some of the expenses."
- “I ended up staying at home after 32 years of service”
Evading military reserve service was not the only reason for dismissing teachers, as many were fired by the Syrian educational directorate for unknown reasons, during 2018.
A source from the educational directorate in al-Hasakah told STJ that successive individual dismissal decisions were issued against over 80 teachers in the city between early 2018 and November 1 of the same year for various reasons, but evading reserve service was the most common cause.
Mohammed Amin Haj Hamo, 57, is a teacher from Amouda. He signed a permanent state teaching contract in 1985. He was fired after 32 years for peaceful political activities against the government.
"On January 4, 2018, the school I was working for; the al-Batoul high school in Amouda, received a directive from the educational directorate of al-Hasakah, to fire me. The next day, I went to al-Hasakah city trying to learn the reason. The employees told said that the National Security Committee/ the Quartet decided to fire me, and I have the right to object within 6 days. Indeed, I hired a lawyer and submitted a complaint to the court, but in vain. The court was delaying the case every month. The educational directorate deprived me of my social insurance and pension although I was about to retire because I have 32 years of service. Moreover, I was not entitled to get my portion from the mutual fund scheme, which I have participated along with other teachers in the union since 1985. Now I am staying at home, unemployed after three decades of service."
Mohammed added that he has four sons and one daughter. Two of his sons were forced to leave university in order to support the family, including their fourth-year Science student brother, after their father was fired. Mohammed hopes the educational directorate in al-Hasakah would revoke its decision.
 The military reserve forces are additional forces in the Syrian army and armed forces. the period of the reserve forces starts from the first day when the mandatory military service expires. The youths who discharged are called up for the reserve service in wartimes and emergencies.
 A department concerned with recruitment matters.
 A a joint security committee between the branches of Political Security, Military Security, Air Security and State Security. It is present in all Syrian governorates. Its functions are carried out under the direct supervision of the Governor. This Committee is also known as the "Quartet".
 The mutual fund scheme is an unofficial fund. The teachers allocate an amount every month, which has lastly reached SYP500. The mutual fund scheme offers help to the teachers inflicted or those retired.