Destroying the Syrian Campus

Destroying the Syrian Campus
Investigations | 16 Oct 2013

Basil Hassan - Aleppo All over the world, university campus is considered a sacred space dedicated for educating and building the character of the future generations, except in Syria where university campuses have turned into a playground for security forces, ‘Mukhabarat’ (Syrian intelligence) and the ‘Shabeeha’ (Syrian regime militia) to violate students’ rights, torture, detain and even kill them. The sad truth is even before the revolution, Syrian universities were in a deplorable state, especially with the prevailing corruption, and the extremely low funds - universities get only 1% of the Syrian state budget. University students were amongst the most active and creative groups that contributed to the Syrian Revolution during its peaceful phase, and in return they got more than their share of persecution. Yet, expulsion from their universities, arbitrary detention, and torture could not deter Syrian students or affect their support for the Revolution and their resolve to overthrow the oppressive regime. A group of them even formed an alternative student union instead of the “National Union of Syrian Students," which has become part of the Syrian regime repressive security apparatus. Nowadays, with the escalating violence across the country, it is very dangerous to be a university student, especially in Aleppo University. According to Joseph, a student from Aleppo, the mere act of going to the university is fraught with danger since it involves crossing Bustan Al-Qasir 'Passage of Death,' the only passageway to enter Aleppo, where the chances of getting killed is almost 50% because of the regimes snipers positioned on the entrances. If students managed by miracle to escape death, they are risking detention by security forces and the Lijan al-Sha'biyah militias (The Popular or People’s Committees.) Dangers of death and detention are not the only problems facing Syrian students. Firas, a student at the Euphrates University in Al-Hasakah, told us that the results of last terms’ exams have not been published yet, and students don’t have any idea if they have to take supplementary exams or not. Alaa, a student at the university in Homs, said that the arrests are not limited to the pro-revolution students. The regime loyalists at the highest positions and in the administrative bodies in the universities are using the chaotic situation to get rid of their competitors through fabricating malicious reports about them and sending them to the Mukhabarat and the security forces. At least 4000 university students were killed so far, and more than 35000 were arrested, add to that a significant decrease in the number of applicants this year universities. All these numbers are clear indicators of the deteriorating situation of Syrian universities.


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