At least 80 people were killed and 160 were wounded in an explosion that tore through the University of Aleppo in Syria's second largest city on Tuesday.
State television said there had been one explosion at the university, which lies in the government-controlled area, describing it as a "terrorist attack."
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The governor of Aleppo, Mohammed Wahid Akkad blamed a "terrorist attack that targeted students on their first day of exams."
Rebels have used car bombs and suicide attacks in fighting government forces and attacking government-controlled areas.
State television footage showed at least one body lying on the street and several cars burning.
A spokesman for the Syrian military said that the university building was hit by missiles fired by rebel forces.
He added that Syrian jets struck the nearest rebel stronghold, about a mile from the university.
University of Aleppo (Photos: AFP)
Syria's UN envoy told the UN Security Council that the explosion was the result of a "Cowardly terrorist act targeted the students of Aleppo University as they sat for their midterm examinations."
Eyewitness reports, however, paint a different, horrific, picture: Tuesday was the first day of the winter semester in the university.
According to several students that survived the inferno, moments before Syrian Migs bombed the school, Assad's syrian security forces swarmed the grounds and shut the building doors to prevent anyone from leaving.
"This was a premeditated massacre," one student said. "There are no words to describe the scene."
A premeditated massacre?
Following the blast, Russia said was suspending operations at its consulate in Aleppo.
"The activity of the consulate of the Russian Federation in Aleppo… has been temporarily suspended," Moscow said in a statement.
Aleppo, now in ruins, was Syria's financial capital. Since July is has become the stage of bloody battles between Assad's forces and the rebels, with neither side being able to take control of it. The Rebels claim they control more than half the province.
The international Red Cross says that more than 600,000 Syrians have fled Syria from, with an average of 3,000 fleeing the atrocities perpetrated by Syrian President Bashar Assad's army everyday.
The UN believed over 60,000 people have been killed in the near-two-years revolt meant to topple Assad's regime.
The Syrian president insists that he will not step down and that the blood-drenched revolution in his country is "fictitious."
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