BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian security forces stormed student dorms at a northwestern university following anti-government protests there, killing at least four students and wounding several others with tear gas and live ammunition, activists and opposition groups said Thursday.
Around 1,500 students had been protesting in student quarters adjacent to Aleppo University’s main campus late Wednesday when security forces and pro-regime gunmen swept into their residences, firing tear gas at first, then live ammunition to disperse them.
Student activist Thaer al-Ahmed said panic and chaos ensued as students tried to flee.
“Some students ran to their rooms to take cover but they were followed to their rooms, beaten up and arrested,” he said.
He said raids and intermittent gunfire continued until early Thursday morning.
Dozens of people were wounded, some critically, and around 50 students were arrested, he said.
The Local Coordination Committees activist group confirmed the raid and said five students were killed and some 200 arrested while the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four students were killed.
“Regime forces demanded through loudspeakers that the dorms be evacuated, then began detaining the students,” the LCC said in a statement.
Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, has been largely spared from the violence that has plagued other Syrian cities, but the university students have been staging almost daily protests calling for the fall of Assad’s regime.
Al-Thaer said the university’s campus and dorms have been raided before, Thursday’s raid was the most violent.
Syria’s persistent bloodshed has tarnished efforts by a U.N. team of observers to salvage a truce that started to unravel almost as soon as it was supposed to begin on April 12.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.