At least four people have been killed during a crackdown on an anti-government protest at a university campus in Syria’s second city, Aleppo, according to activists quoted by the Associated Press.
The crackdown on the protest happened late on Wednesday, in spite of the Syrian government’s declarations that it is abiding by a peace plan brokered by former United Nations’ secretary general Kofi Annan as a special UN-Arab League envoy. The plan includes a cease fire and a permission for peaceful protests. The incident in Aleppo came as another reminder to UN observers in Syria that a truce supposed to have started on April 12 may have been jeopardized.
A crowd of 1,500 students had been protesting outside their residences next to Aleppo University’s main campus on Wednesday night when security forces and militia men fired tear gas then live ammunition to disperse the protesters. One student in Aleppo, Thaer al-Ahmed, speaking to the Associated Press, described the students’ panic amid the chaos during the incident.
From the BBC:
“Some students ran to their rooms to take cover but they were followed to their rooms, beaten up and arrested, others suffered cuts and broken bones as they tried to flee.”
Mr Ahmed said raids and intermittent gunfire had continued in the area for about five hours until Thursday morning.
The Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC), an activist network, said troops had later warned anyone still inside the student accommodation to leave. Entrances to faculty buildings were also said to have been closed.
The LCC said five students had been killed, while the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four people had died.