FALLUJAH/SAMARRA, Iraq, March 20 (Xinhuanet,by Jiang Xiaofeng, Li Jizhi) -- Two years after theUS-led war on Iraq, urban life in Iraq's insurgency-ridden Sunni Triangle has been paralyzed due to the hard-core military operations.
Only a small number of some 200,000 citizens that fled Fallujah ahead of a US massive assault have returned to the war-battered city, residing in partially opened neighborhoods and leaving otherparts occupied by the American troops.
In thousands of refugee camps outside the town, people are still living off aids and make-shift tents have become children's classrooms.
"Writers depict the hardships of Fallujans and reporters coverour misfortunes, but nobody can feel the pain the kids are suffering except themselves," lamented Suad Mohamed Mustafa,headmistress of the Wathba high school for girls.
"Students are not supposed to miss their lessons despite thetragic events. Thus, we rented tents for them," Mustafa told Xinhuain a shabby tent used as her dean office.
But the children's schooling are accompanied with coldness,darkness and even diseases.
"When it rains, the tents could turn into a mess and diseasesspread quickly," said Mustafa, "but no teacher gives a damn despite the hardship."
"I have difficulties in taking lessons with more than 25 students inside a tent originally designed for 10," said 12-year-old Azhar Khalil.
"It's like hell, but what you gonna do? To idle away a whole year is no option," said the child.
"I have asthma and the tent would not protect us from cold. Isuffocate continuously due to the bad ventilation," complained Nuha Mahmood, who is 14.
She recalled that her classmate Mays Hassan was sitting near the blackboard in the front row one day when a storm came and the falling board hit right on her head. She was transferred to hospital unconscious.
Situations are no better in Samarra, another once rebel-controlled city that had been stormed by US and Iraqi forces last summer.
The city, 110 km north of Baghdad, boasted a golden-domedmosque, home to a Muslim holy shrine, and the spiral minaret, a trademark historic structure in Iraq.
Since the bloodshed, the once busy industrial city has become one of the deprived areas in Iraq, as business has come into a virtual stalemate and citizens can hardly find enough necessities in local market.
Haunted by bomb attacks and assassinations, the city's streets are void of civilian cars starting around 19:00 (1600 GMT) every evening, making the night in Samarra one of the longest in Iraq.Beside the damaged shops and residence houses, schools and government buildings were occupied by US and Iraqi troops as front bases. Reflection of light from gun battles were noticeablyvisible. Residents have begun to flee the city and take refuge in countryside.
It takes hours before one gets through all the three checkpoints to enter Samarra.
"We are here to prevent weapons from reaching the terrorists holed up in the city," said an officer of the Iraqi National Guardsas he was searching a car at one of the checkpoints.
"The added-up errors by the American administration and the coalition authorities contributed to the deterioration of the situation of Samarra," Abdullah Hussein Jibbara, the governor of Salahuldeen, told Xinhua.
In Samarra, many schools used as polling centers were bombed onJan. 30, and only about 3,000 out of the 100,000 eligible votershad their ballots cast that day.
"The low turnout shows that Samarrans are alienated by the Iraqi government and the American forces," said a blacksmith in the city's industrial zone.
The Sunni Triangle in central northern Iraq has been the major headache for the US forces and Iraq's security authority in the past two years. General resentment against Americans in the vastarea has fueled the country-wide insurgency and provided hotbeds for international terror networks.
Following raids and all-out offensives, US and Iraqi officials believe the militant groups have moved from Fallujah and Samarra to Mosul, Iraq's third largest city in the northern end of the triangle. Enditem