Aleppo University bombings

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Aleppo University bombings
Part of the Syrian Civil War
Location Aleppo, Syria
Date 15 January 2013 (UTC+3)
Target University students
Attack type
School bombing, mass murder, state terrorism
Weapons Missiles
Deaths 82[1]
Non-fatal injuries
Perpetrators unknown

The Aleppo University bombings took place on 15 January 2013, during the Syrian revolution, which turned into what is known as the Syrian civil war. The bombings killed at least 82 people at the Aleppo University, including students and children.[1] The explosions reportedly struck an area between the University of Aleppo's halls of residence and the faculty of architecture, on the first day of exams.[2] The University has been a center for anti-Government protests[3] as well as a refuge for over 30,000 civilians fleeing the fighting in Aleppo.[1]

Since the forces opposing the Syrian regime do not have ballistic means at their disposal, and the entire Syrian airforce still being under the control of the Assad regime, the United States blamed airstrikes by Government forces for the deaths, and condemned the "despicable attack".[4]Syrian State TV claimed rebels had launched two rockets at the campus after a car bomb blast.[5][2] The opposition accounts said that warplanes had targeted the University in two separate missile attacks three minutes apart (backed by statements of eye-witnesses and video footage), while the University press office claimed that Syrian air force MiG fighter planes deliberately targeted the University and denounced the attack as a "criminal attack".[6]

While most university students blamed the attack on the Syrian government,[7] one student said that the explosions were more accidental. The student said that insurgent fighters just outside Aleppo who apparently were armed with a heat-seeking missile fired it at a MIG fighter, and that the pilot dropped a heat balloon as an evasive tactic, and that the missile followed the balloon and then exploded adjacent to the university dormitories. Other students also reported seeing what they described as heat balloons before the explosions. This explanation does not explain why there were multiple explosions[3] or why the explosions were so large.

On 24 January, amateur video footage of a second explosion was released where the roar of over-flying jet, after missile hit, can be heard. Unnamed experts quoted by EA Worldview identified the missile as air-to-ground, as opposed to ballistic missile that Syrian government claimed to hit the university.[8][9]