Home Social Justice Athens, OU Groups Host Vigil for Bombing at Syrian University

Athens, OU Groups Host Vigil for Bombing at Syrian University

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Photo by Jesse Bethea

Ohio University students and Athens residents participated in an emergency vigil for the victims of a bombing at a Syrian university last week.

The vigil, called the National Emergency Vigil for Students of Aleppo, took place Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. in the courtyard at the top of Morton Hill. The Muslim Student Association, Project Nur and STAND Against Genocide organized the vigil. Lasting only about 30 minutes, about 60 attendees participated.

“We thought it was a really great opportunity to raise awareness,” said STAND President Jack Spicer, who added that STAND was contacted to help organize the vigil by the Syrian American Council.

The candlelight vigil was meant to show solidarity with the students who fell victim to bombings at the University of Aleppo on Tuesday, Jan. 15.

The bombings killed over 80 people, as well as injuring 150, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Syrian human rights watchdog based in London. Most of the victims are believed to be students and displaced persons being sheltered by the university, but the death total is still being counted, as bodies beneath the rubble continue to be found and identified. The bombing occurred during the first day of semester finals.

The Syrian city of Aleppo has been a battlefront line in Syria’s ongoing civil war between rebels and government forces. The war, which started as early as March 2011, is said to have claimed over 60,000 lives and displaced thousands more. Cities have been reduced to rubble and debris and residents’ lives have been torn apart.

The Assad regime has called the rebels “terrorists” and insists that its activity in the war is for defense purposes. Both Russia and China have come out in support of Assad’s regime and have vetoed United Nations Security Council resolutions to remove Assad from power.

The U.S. has publicly denounced the human rights violations committed by the Assad regime and published a press release denouncing the bombings at Aleppo, but it is unknown whether the rebels or government forces committed the bombings.

Rebel activists have said that two government air strikes bombed the university, but the government denies any involvement and said that rebel forces bombed the buildings using a missile.

STAND, a political organization committed to standing up for human rights, said the vigil was not a political act and was simply meant to honor the victims of the bombing.

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