Explosions rock Syria's Aleppo university, 52 dead

Observatory says death count after university explosion rockets to 52, expected to rise; Russia against referring crisis to ICC.

Aleppo university explosion (photo credit: REUTERS/George Ourfalian)
Aleppo university explosion
(photo credit: REUTERS/George Ourfalian)
BEIRUT - At least 52 people were killed and dozens wounded on Tuesday in two explosions that rocked the university in Aleppo, Syria's biggest city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Two explosions hit the university during the day while students were sitting exams. The cause of the explosions was not clear but the government and opposition activists blamed each other.
The Observatory said in a statement that its death toll was based on reports from doctors and students.
Two explosions rocked the University of Aleppo in Syria's second largest city on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
State television said there had been one explosion at the university, which lies in the government-controlled area, describing it as a "terrorist attack".
Rebels have used car bombs and suicide attacks in fighting government forces and attacking government-controlled areas.
Fighting between rebels and government forces has reached a stalemate in Aleppo and left the city divided. Rebels say they control more than half the province.
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State television footage showed at least one body lying on the street and several cars burning.
The second explosion reported by the Observatory, a British-based opposition monitoring group, may have been caused by a burning car, but there was no independent confirmation.
One of the university buildings was damaged. The state news agency said the explosion occurred on the first day of exams.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, permanent UN Security Council member Russia said in a Foreign Ministry statement on Tuesday that an effort by dozens of countries to refer the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court was "ill-timed and counterproductive".
More than 50 countries asked the Security Council on Monday to refer the crisis in Syria to the court, which prosecutes people for genocide and war crimes.