Abdalrahman (26)
Student 'English Language and Literature'

"My family lived in a nearby village in the countryside. I often spent my free time over there, so I had to travel a lot between the province and the city of Aleppo. I had a wonderful childhood with fond memories of my childhood and the city. Syria was a modern country and especially Aleppo was very modern. Until Al Assad started bombing everything after the revolution. I studied at the University of Aleppo 'English Language and Literature'. Aleppo University was a tolarent university where everyone could be themselves. Boys and girls were studying together. It was "open minded". I was happy and proud that I could study, but that does not mean that it was easily to find job after graduation due to the corrupted system.

In 2012 the revolution started in Aleppo because people started to ask for freedom and their rights. The Assad regime subsequently focused on the young students because they were more open minded and a large group of them protested against his regime.

It may sound strange, but daily life goes on during the bombing. People need money to feed their children. And so people go to work (if there is), they go shopping, there get married... students go to college. Right in town there was a street where every day people had to cross to go shopping or go to work. Al Assad snipers kept the streets under visor. It is an ordinary street, but you never know if you will make it across. A kind of Russian roulette ... "

Bombing Aleppo University
15 January 2013

On January 25, 2013 the university was attacked by Al Assad air force. Two rockets were fired at the university. There were many deads and wounded among the students. The regime gave a death toll of about 100 students, but probably there were many more, and the death toll was previously 500 students and civilians. The building was completely destroyed and was full of bullet holes.

Besides the university building there was a campus. During the revolution it became a refuge shelter for the families of the students and refugees from neighboring countries after Al Assad bombed their houses. So many more people lived together in small spaces. Also among these people were many dead and wounded.

A week after the bombing, the examinations of the students just went on again. The lessons stopped after the attack, but students have been given the opportunity to complete their examination.


I often had to move between home and college. This was not easy. The violence was on the road, but also controls and lack of transportation made it difficult. In addition, I was daily harassed and accosted by soldiers who laughed at me and made fun of because I chose my studies instead of the army of the regime.

I left Aleppo in 2013 after Assad had called all graduate students to join the army. As long as you were studying, you were exempt. After your study, you were suppost to go into the army to fight the rebels. Anyone who refused was arrested. I'm not a soldier, I do not fight. I want to study and live a normal life with all of my rights. That was the moment I decided to leave. It was dangerous for me ... before I got my diploma, I left with pain in my heart.

I miss Aleppo terribly. I never wanted to leave. I did not choose the war. I choose freedom.

My wish for Aleppo:
People should stay together.
All of us we are brothers.
We should try to love each other again.

My favorite place in Aleppo; the university.”


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