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Syria Says Teachers Taped Beating Kids "Reassigned"

Syria said Thursday it had taken punitive measures against two female teachers videotaped beating schoolchildren in the northern Aleppo province, but said the shocking incident dated back six years.

An official statement carried by the state-run SANA News Agency said Education Minister Ali Saad transferred the implicated teachers to another job in a remote area to keep them away from any job connected to teaching "after involving in physical and psychological violence against pupils."

The government vowed to "prevent this phenomena" in the future. It was the first reaction to the videotaped school violence, which caused a national uproar several weeks earlier.

"This incident circulated by some media dates back to 2004 in a school in Aleppo, and was not settled at that time for lack of tangible evidence such as photos. Both were moved from the school, with one punished by slashing three percent of her monthly salary for three months," the statement said.

CBS News has been unable to verify the government's claim that the widely circulated video clip was years-old.

"With the video clips available, the Minister ordered the investigation to be reopened with the two teachers who admitted to the incident and they were punished by assigning them to jobs other than teaching. The other female teacher who filmed the incident was dismissed as she work as a part-time teacher," said the Ministry's statement.

The statement said the Education Ministry was, "determined to prevent this phenomenon which dropped off over the past period, despite that fact that some teachers are still exercising it."

The source didn't identify the teachers by name, in spite of earlier suggestions they would be revealed.

The official response to the incident came only five days after the beginning of the new school year in Syria.

Officially, physical and psychological abuse are banned in all schools in Syria, both public and private, but the practice while diminishing, still exists, even in the capital city.

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