Explosion at Syria university - reports

2013-01-15 14:58
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Beirut - An explosion rocked the University of Aleppo in Syria's second largest city on Tuesday, causing casualties, state television said.

At least 82 people were killed and more than 160 wounded.

The report described the explosion as a "terrorist attack".

Fighting between rebels and government forces has reached a stalemate in Aleppo and left the city divided. Rebels say they control more than half the province.

The university lies in government-controlled territory.

Meanwhile, an artillery attack in the central province of Homs killed at least 10 people on Tuesday, a watchdog said, adding that warplanes launched air strikes on multiple rebel bastions across Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that five women were among those killed in the shelling of Houla in Homs province.

Massacre

"Houla sees daily shelling and daily fighting," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

The Syrian Revolution General Commission, a grassroots network of activists, described the killings in Houla as a "massacre" and added that dozens more wounded in the shelling.

In northern Syria, an air raid in the early hours on Tuesday on the rebel-held town of Al-Bab killed at least eight people, half of them women, said the Britain-based Observatory.

The watchdog also reported eruptions of violence on the edges of the capital, with the town of town of Mleha, southeast of Damascus, being hit by shelling and an air strike as rebels fought soldiers near a defence headquarters.

The rebel-held towns of Shebaa, southeast of Damascus, and Douma, east of the capital, were also hit by air strikes, the Observatory said.

Both towns are located in the Eastern Ghouta area of Damascus province, home to some of the rebel Free Syrian Army's best organised and fiercest groups.

Air raids

Damascus province has become the focus of Syria's conflict in the past weeks with the army stepping up its bid to take back rebel-held areas near the capital.

Elsewhere, air raids struck the rebel-held districts of Jobar and Sultaniyeh in Homs city, several of whose districts have been under a suffocating army siege for more than six months, the Observatory said.

"They have launched an assault on districts under siege," an anti-regime activist in the besieged Old City neighbourhood of Homs city, who identified himself as Abu Bilal, told AFP via the Internet.

"The army is trying to take back Homs."

Tuesday's violence came a day after 165 people were killed across Syria, according to the Observatory.

The UN says more than 60 000 people have been killed in Syria since the outbreak of a peaceful uprising 22 months ago on 15 March 2011, which morphed into an insurgency after the regime of President Bashar Assad unleashed a brutal crackdown against dissent.

Read more on:    bashar assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings
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