Students 'killed' after troops storm university campus

 

Beirut

Hundreds of students protested in Syria's northern city of Aleppo yesterday after President Bashar al-Assad's security forces stormed the university, allegedly using live ammunition against students and slinging their belongings out of windows during a rampage that left part of the campus in flames.

The raid left at least four students dead and scores were arrested, according to activists, who said the attack lasted into the early hours of yesterday morning and followed a large anti-government rally which drew 1,500 demonstrators. At least 20 more students were reportedly arrested yesterday as they continued to hold protests.

"Most of the students were back in their dormitories when the security forces came in but others ran there for safety. The security forces were armed with machine guns and rifles and (were) shooting at them," said Abdurrahaman Abu Huthaifa, an activist with the Syrian Revolution Co-ordinators Union in Aleppo. "There was panic, students tried to use desks and tables to barricade themselves in but the shabbiha [government militias] broke them down. We had desperate calls and text messages from people inside saying they were in need of medical supplies."

Videos posted online showed the aftermath of the attack, with shattered glass on the floor and a man trying to douse smouldering flames with a bucket of water. The university announced it will be closed for at least 10 days.

Mr Huthaifa said it was difficult to verify the number killed as the security forces had taken many of the seriously injured, and possibly some of the bodies, with them when they left the campus. The Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC) put the number at five, with 200 arrested, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four had died.

Aleppo, Syria's most populous city and home to a large population of Alawites – the minority sect to which the ruling Assad family belong – has not seen such widespread protests as in the opposition bastions of Hama and Homs to the south, but the university has been the site of frequent demonstrations.

The raid came after what is thought to have been the heaviest day of casualties for the Syrian army so far during the 13-month long uprising. At least 20 troops were reportedly killed by rebels on Wednesday, including 15 in an ambush in Aleppo.

The continued ceasefire violations come despite the presence of UN monitors in the country.

The head of the UN team of observers, Major General Robert Mood, visited Homs and Hama where he said there is still "a good chance and an opportunity" to break the cycle of violence. However the LCC said that gunfire and shells continued in the devastated city of Homs, killing eight, even as the observers visited.

The continued bloodshed and the slow pace of UN deployment has reduced hopes for the monitoring mission. Just 24 of the 30 member advance team were in the country on Wednesday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders