One dies as gunman fires on Syria students
AFP, Tuesday 27 Dec 2011
As the Arab League observers begin their mission to Syria, activists say gunman shot dead a student at Damascus University

A gunman shot dead at least one student and wounded four others at Damascus University on Sunday, Syrian state media reported, in an attack activists blamed on pro-regime students.

The assailant, identified as student Ammar Balush, went on the shooting spree with a handgun during exams at the biomedical faculty, said the official SANA news agency.

One of those wounded was in a critical condition, SANA's report said, adding Balush had "deliberately" targeted the five students, indicating the motive for the shooting was personal rather than political.

But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the shooting was carried out by a pro-regime gunman, and said the number of casualties was four wounded students.

"Four university students were wounded, including one who is in a critical condition, in gunfire by students who are loyalists to the regime... at Damascus University," the Observatory said on its Facebook page.

The Local Coordination Committees, which organise the anti-regime protests on the ground, said in a statement emailed to AFP in Nicosia that three people died in what it called "random security gunfire".

"Security forces are storming all the units in the dorms and they broke the doors and windows. Security reinforcements entered the dorms, snipers also deployed on the roof," said the LCC statement.

The incident came as Syria was under the international spotlight on Tuesday with a team of Arab League observers in the country to oversee a deal to end violence amid a nine-month crackdown on anti-regime protests.