We Condemn the Assault on the Staff of International Sham University, the Syrian Interim Government and the SNA Must Uphold Their Legal Responsibilities

International Sham University in Izaz city in Aleppo governorate | Photo by: open sources

Available In


On Monday, June 26, 2023, a group of armed individuals led by Mohammad Mahmoud al-Dibou from the formation ‘al-Jabha al-Shamiya/ The Levant Front’, also known as the Third Division of the Syrian National Army (SNA), assaulted eight university professors from the teaching staff of International Sham University, which is a private university located near the SNA-held Shmarin village to the east of Izaz city at the entrance of al-Rayyan Camp in northern Aleppo suburbs.

The armed individuals stopped a car near the university’s entrance. In the car were Professor Maysar al-Hassan, President of the University, Professor Yousef Abdul Jalil, University Secretary, Professor Abdul Qader Rashwani, Vice-President of Scientific Affairs, Professor Ma’rouf al-Khalaf, an economic professor at the university, Professor Waddah al-Rajab, former University President and a Sharia professor, Professor Abdullatif Othman, Dean of the Agriculture Department, Professor Yousef Hammoudi, Dean of the Civil Engineering Department, and Professor Ibrahim Mohammad Ali. The passengers were forced to get out of the car and stand by the university’s fence under the coercion of arms. Then, they were beaten, whipped, and degraded, resulting in physical and moral damage for the victims.

In response, Sham University issued a statement announcing that examinations and work for the teaching and administrative staff will be halted, with the university shut down until further notice.

Born in 1990 and originally from Talqrah village in the eastern suburbs of Aleppo, Mohammad Mahmoud al-Dibou, leader of the armed group, is a second-year university at the civil engineering department in the university and has exhausted all his allotted time years ago.

According to intelligence we have received, he and his armed group, composed of three military vehicles equipped with light machine guns, trailed and stalked the car on Izaz-Shamarin road and stopped it when it arrived at the university’s entrance.

We have also received information confirming that the Military Hospital in Izaz city has arrested Mohammad Mahmoud al-Dibou following the incident, as he is set to be referred to the concerned authorities. The Syrian Interim Government’s Ministry of Defense has issued a statement addressing the matter.

Meanwhile, the SNA’s Third Division has also released a statement on the incident, in which it revealed that the individuals involved in the assault were also arrested.

According to our the database, this incident is not the first of its kind. In fact, the areas under the control of the SNA have seen many similar intimidation operations by military personnel against armless civilians at public facilities, such as hospitals, schools, and markets.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) condemnts this assault on the teaching and adminsrtative staff of Sham University, and holds the Syrian Interim Government and the SNA responsible for what happened, considering that it desecrated the sanctity of an educational facility such as a university and its staff, as well as its students, which constitutes a violation of the international human rights law. Those bodies must uphold their responsibilities in addressing this horrifying violation as it poses a threat to the safety of civilian facilities, such as educational facilities, which poses a wider threat to the right to safety and the right to education.

We call on the aforementioned bodies to immediately launch an investigation into the incident, and materially and morally compensate the victims for the harm they suffered. The accountability process should also be publicized. Merely holding the individuals involved without issuing a judicial ruling against them is not enough. Action must be taken to ensure that such violent practices do not happen again and that teaching staff and students are protected.