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Syria's school of hard rocks

In this makeshift school in war-torn Syria, a lucky few pupils get chairs and desks. The rest have to make do with stones as chairs as they attend lessons.

The barn in a rebel-held area of Daraa, in southern Syria, was converted into a school for children displaced from areas under government control.

Rebels hold most of the Daraa province, but its regional capital of the same name is largely controlled by the government.

The lives and well-being of hundreds of thousands of civilians are at risk as winter sets in amid unabated fighting between forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad and rebels, said Mr Jan Egeland, special adviser to the United Nations special envoy for Syria, on Thursday.

The Norwegian diplomat said that conditions in besieged and hard-to-reach areas in Syria were of extreme concern as a result of the conflict, which started in March 2011.

Some 400,000 people have died during the five-year war, while millions more have been displaced by fighting and reigning insecurity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2016, with the headline 'Syria's school of hard rocks'. Print Edition | Subscribe