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Syrian forces storm university, kill 4

BEIRUT -- Syrian forces stormed student dormitories during an anti-government protest at Aleppo University yesterday, firing tear gas and bullets in an hours-long siege that killed at least four students and forced the closing of the state-run school, activists said.

UN truce observers toured other parts of the country where residents told of being terrified to walk on the streets after dark as the 14-month-old uprising rages on.

The UN estimates 9,000 people have been killed since the revolt began, and a peace plan brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan has done little to stem the bloodshed.

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney admitted the plan might be doomed. "If the regime's intransigence continues, the international community is going to have to admit defeat," he said.

The siege at the university began late Wednesday when around 1,500 students rallied against President Bashar Assad. Pro-regime students attacked the crowd with knives before security forces swept in, firing tear gas and then live ammunition, activists said.

"Some students ran to their rooms to take cover, but they were followed to their rooms, beaten up and arrested," activist Thaer al-Ahmed said. "Others suffered cuts and broken bones as they tried to flee."

Raids and intermittent gunfire continued for about five hours through early yesterday, he said, and 200 students were arrested. Dozens of people were wounded.

It was an unusually violent incident in Aleppo, an economic hub that has remained largely loyal to Assad and has been spared the bloodshed that has plagued other cities.

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