Mortar shells slammed into a cafeteria at Damascus University on Thursday, killing at least 10 people and wounding 20 in what was the deadliest in a string of such attacks on President Bashar Assad's seat of power, state media and officials said.
SANA official news agency and the state-run TV said that “10 students were martyred and others were injured by a mortar shell fired by terrorists which fell inside the cafeteria of the Faculty of Architectural Engineering in Damascus on Thursday.” The casualties occurred when mortar shells struck the cafeteria of the university's architecture department in the central Baramkeh district.
A SANA correspondent quoted Rector of the University of Damascus, Mohammad Amer al-Mardini, as saying that 10 students were martyred and 29 others were injured by the shell, two of them are in critical condition.
"No one, in any position in the world, can imagine there is a an act more criminal than this one," added al-Mardini, noting that "If the aim behind this criminal act was to close the University of Damascus, with its history and deep-rootedness, then we stress that it won't shut down in defiance of the enemies."
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which came two days after rebels barraged Damascus with mortar shells that killed at least three people and wounded dozens.
The government blamed "terrorists," the term it uses for rebels fighting to oust Assad, and called the attack as a "barbaric massacre."