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Al-Ittihad University in rural Aleppo: From a place for education to a prison

 

 

Despite the enmity they have for each other, both of, the SDF and Daesh, continue to carry out the same actions when it comes to human rights violations against civilians and civil institutions.

 

After the SDF, who are majority dominated by the YPG, captured several villages in the vicinity of Manbij in June 2016, they kept the civil institutions, which had been turned by Daesh into detention centers and prisons, the way they are, including Al-Ittihad University which is 20 km far from the city.

 

An Aleppo 24 correspondent in the eastern countryside of Aleppo confirmed that the YPG are detaining more than 64 civilians whom they accused of sympathizing with Daesh and cooperation with the Euphrates Shield.

 

He added that “We noticed recently suspicious behaviors from the Asayesh forces, who are the PYD police, in the vicinity of Al- Ittihad University. One of their members was killed while dismantling landmine previously planted by the organization near the university.”

He also said that, “ The SDF confiscated a civilian-owned farm near the university, where they have placed some of their guards to secure it.”

 

Other private sources stated to Aleppo24 that the SDF recently detained a civilian called “Hamdouni”, who is the owner of a shoes shop in the city of Manbij. They transported him to the university’s prison on charges that he formerly cooperated with Daesh when the city was under their control.

 

The private university was opened in the year of 2003. It remained neutral concerning the uprising that broke out in 2011, apart from some students who held a protest and were arrested by the regime security forces. After the FSA advanced in eastern Aleppo on July 19, 2012, they attempted to protect it from damages and destruction.

 

However, the equipment of the university, including modern computers and other electronic devices, were looted by the Tawhid Brigade and the Ahrar Al-Sham Movement being led by their commander “ Abu Jabir Hashim Sheikh”, who is now the commander of the Hayaat Tahrir Al-Sham, which is majority dominated by the Jabhat Fath Al Sham ( the Nusra Front). The university was also struck for multiple times by the Assad regime.

 

On January 19, 2014, Daesh succeeded in gaining conrol over the university and surrounding area after an attack on the factions who were operating there. Then, the organization transformed the undamaged parts of the university into a big prison where they subjected their detainees to severe torture. They even carried out mass executions in it, which led to the discovery of mass graves near it later on.

The coalition also bombed the university in Spetember 2014, causing destruction to large parts of it.

 

It was also used as a headquarter for some Daesh commanders since Omar Shishan was seen in it one day.

Abu Athir, also known as Amro Abssi, (Daesh high ranking commander), also studied in the university before he was arrested and transported to the Saydaniyah prison before the start of the revolution in the year of 2011.

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