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Attack kills 12 at Damascus University

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Kurds negotiate Shia-Sunni deal in Aleppo

The cafeteria at Damascus University in Damascus, Syria, which was hit by mortar shells on Thursday.— Photo: AP
The cafeteria at Damascus University in Damascus, Syria, which was hit by mortar shells on Thursday.— Photo: AP

A mortar attack on Damascus University killed at least 12 students on Thursday, state television reported, blaming rebels who have stepped up attacks in the heart of the Syrian capital.

“The number of students killed in the mortar attack on the architecture faculty in Damascus University has risen to 12,” said the broadcaster, blaming “terrorists” for the attack, using the regime term for insurgents.

State news agency SANA added that six others were hurt by “mortars that targeted the faculty cafeteria”.

Rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad have this week escalated their mortar attacks on central Damascus, including Umayyad Square in the middle of the capital, which houses the state television headquarters.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group that relies on sources on the ground for its information, also reported Thursday’s attack, though it put the toll at 10 people dead.

Al-Ikhbariya television, a pro-regime channel, showed footage of doctors treating young people with serious wounds.

Flashpoints

Syrian Kurds in the northern province of Aleppo have helped Sunni rebel fighters negotiate a settlement with Shia residents in two flashpoint villages, a watchdog said. Sunni “rebels and Shia fighters from the popular committees of Zahraa and Nabul have entered into talks, several months into a siege by insurgents of the two villages”, said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman.

“The talks were initiated by the Kurdish popular committees,” he told AFP.

Though large swathes of the province have fallen out of regime hands in recent months, Aleppo is home to a variety of ethnic and religious groups, and has seen clashes pitting rebels against Kurds and Shias.

“Both the rebels and Shia fighters from Zahraa and Nabul have engaged in tit-for-tat kidnapping of civilians. Should the talks succeed, it would mean the regime can no longer claim to be a legitimate protector of Syria’s minorities,” said Mr. Abdel Rahman. — AFP


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