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Syria changes rigid school uniforms

DAMASCUS, Syria, April 29 (UPI) -- Syria has decided to change the rigid color of its long-time school uniforms from military khaki to the brighter tones of blue, gray and pink starting next school year in a move seen as reflecting its serious wish for peace, government-run newspapers reported Tuesday.

The Baath and Tishrin newspapers said the Ministry of Education adopted the new school uniforms in the elementary, intermediate and secondary schools.

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They said the measure was to be in effect as of the 2003-2004 school year. Accordingly the elementary female and male students will have unified blue uniforms while the intermediate students will have pink and blue uniforms.

Gray, blue and pink will be worn by secondary school students.

The newspapers did not give reasons for such a new measure but observers referred it to an attempt by Syria to show its serious wish for peace in the Middle East.

An informed source told United Press International that the measure has been under study for some time and came in response to "the people's wish."

Recent western media reports have recently criticized Syria for its school uniforms arguing that the military-colored costumes do not reflect Damascus declaration that peace is its strategic option.

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After the war on Iraq ended, U.S. accusations and threats poured on Syria alleging that it possesses chemical weapons and possibly harboring officials of ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's Baath Party regime.

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