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Students killed at Aleppo University, Syrian activists say

February 22, 2012 |  2:18 pm

REPORTING FROM BEIRUT -- Syrian security forces fired on more than 2,000 student protesters at Aleppo University on Wednesday, killing three and injuring dozens who had been chanting for the ouster of  President Bashar Assad, several activists reported.

Aleppo has remained relatively quiet during a nearly year-long anti-government uprising across the nation. But in recent days, the university has become a hot spot, the site of almost daily protests involving both men and women.

"The protest was very, very large," said a professor and activist. "Every time it is getting bigger. The regime is now afraid that the situation at the university is going to get out of their control. So the response was more extreme."

Students from most of the university’s departments gathered in the campus courtyard shortly before noon,  said Abu Ghaith, a media activist with the Revolutionary Council of Aleppo and Its suburbs.

The students were confronted by security forces who fired tear gas and bullets. Some of the wounded students were arrested, making it difficult to determine the number of people injured, Abu Ghaith said.

The protest lasted several hours as students chased the security forces across the campus and through surrounding streets. Security forces fired shots for more than an hour and a half, though it was to disperse the demonstrators and not targeted shooting, the professor said.

The professor and others were trapped by gunfire near the electrical engineering building. Activist leaders in Aleppo have been encouraging students to protest in hope the demonstrations will spark a citywide anti-government movement.

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 -- Times Staff

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