Syria university blast: Death toll shoots up to 87
Aleppo: The death toll from twin explosions at the University of Aleppo in Syria has shot up to 87, activists said on Wednesday.
According to the British group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which had earlier pegged the death toll at 83 and 150 injured, four more deaths were been reported. The group fears that the death toll could rise further as some of the wounded are critical.
The blasts, that blew off dormitory rooms and destroyed a major portion of the University, took place when students were sitting for their mid-term examination.
The cause of blast is unclear with both, the regime and the rebels accusing each other of launching the attack.
Syria's state news agency said a "terrorist group”, i.e, the rebels fired two rockets at the university, whereas the activists say that the forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad launched two airstrikes on the area.
The northern city of Aleppo, which is the financial hub of Syria has been a hotbed of conflict between the government forces and the rebels since last two years but the places such as University had been spared the horror of violence so far.
The University bombings mark a significant intensification of the Syrian civil war which according to the UN has claimed 60, 000 lives so far.
The university is in the city's northwest, a sector still controlled by the government. Both activists and the Assad regime said those killed in Tuesday's blasts were mostly students taking their mid-year exams and civilians who sought refuge in the university dorms after fleeing violence elsewhere.
The blasts caused widespread destruction, scattering rubble and more than a dozen flaming cars across a wide street near a dormitory, according to videos shot on site. The dormitory's windows were blown out and some of its walls were gone, revealing beds and other furniture inside.
Students and rescue workers combed the rubble, carrying away the wounded.
Images circulated by activists showed dead bodies lying in the street. The photos and videos appeared to be genuine and corresponded to other Associated Press reporting.
Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari told a UN Security Council meeting on combatting terrorism that "a cowardly terrorist act targeted the students of Aleppo University as they sat for their mid-term examinations." He said 82 students were killed and152 were wounded.
Syria's crisis began with political protests in March 2011 and has since descended into civil war, with scores of rebel groups across the country fighting Assad's forces.