The Syrian Ministry of Education has decided to teach Russian as a second foreign language starting from next year. After learning English as a first foreign language in primary school, students will be able to choose between learning Russian and French as a second foreign language from the seventh to the twelfth grades, the ministry announced on its website.
The Syrian Education Minister, Hozan Al-Waz, said: "the ministry has completed all preparations to teach Russian as a second foreign language in a number of schools starting from the next academic year, preparations that included designing the teaching curriculum and recruiting the teachers."
The medium of instruction in Syrian schools is Arabic, the country's official language. English is taught as a first foreign language starting from the first grade, while French is taught as a second foreign language starting from the seventh grade.
Moscow is currently the most prominent ally of President Bashar Al-Assad's regime and has used its "veto power" three times at the UN Security Council to prevent adopting resolutions that condemn the regime in the civil conflict that has been ravaging the country for nearly three years.
The Syrian regime violently confronted a strong protest movement in 2011, which then turned into a bloody conflict claiming the lives of more than 130 000 people according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.