By Ned Parker and Alaa Hassan
11:38 AM PST, January 15, 2013
BEIRUT — Dozens of people died Tuesday in two explosions only minutes apart at a university in the embattled northern Syria city of Aleppo, according to Syrian activists and the government.
The activists blamed the deaths at Aleppo University on two shells fired by the Syrian military, while the government's Syrian Arab News Agency, or SANA, cited rockets fired by "the terrorists," its description of opposition fighters.
The estimates of the number of dead and injured varied widely.
As many as 77 people died when two shells landed in the vicinity of the architecture college and dormitories, according to a Damascus-based rebel spokeswoman who calls herself Susan Ahmed.
Rami Abdul-Rahman, an activist with the London-based pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, confirmed that 52 people died but said the figure could be as high as 90.
SANA reported many were killed and others injured, while Aleppo Gov. Mohammed Wahid Akkad told Agence France-Presse that 82 people died and more than 160 were wounded.
The attack came on a day students were taking midterm exams. Pictures from government and pro-rebel sites showed building facades damaged and at least one dead person on the ground.
Aleppo, the country's second-biggest city, has been contested since July, with regular skirmishes and shelling between the government and rebel fighters.
Nabih Bulos in Amman, Jordan, contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times