(UNRWA) – Of the many tragedies occurring in the Middle East, the story of embattled schools may be one of the least well known. Front lines shift and run through school grounds, artillery rounds hit installations, incursions by armed forces or groups occur, and access is prevented or rendered impossible for young boys and girls, for whom education is a critical life-line. Nearly half of the 692 schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, across the region have been impacted, attacked or otherwise rendered inoperable by conflict or violence in the last five years, according to a new report unveiled at the World Humanitarian Summit, taking place in Istanbul. “A staggering 302 schools have been directly affected,” said UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, Pierre Krähenbühl, in an article published this week.