The two-year civil war that has taken tens of thousands of lives and forced millions to become refugees took another bloody turn when a bomb hit Damascus University in Syria’s capital.

In solidarity on the Diag Monday night, signs with messages such as “Let Ink Flow, Not Blood” and “Free Syria” were held by some students, while others stood in silence holding candles.

The vigil was part of a wider effort organized by the Syrian American Council, which is calling on students across the nation to hold similar vigils this week to commemorate students that were recently killed in the attack and raise awareness of the complex issue.

The most recent reports published on the group’s Facebook page have confirmed 15 students were killed and 20 injured, and reports differ on whether the attacks came from the Assad regime or the opposition. On Jan. 15, Syrian regime forces dropped bombs on the University of Aleppo, killing 82 people and injuring 192 people.

“People are unsafe in their homes, in school and at work because they want the right to vote and freedom of speech,” Noor Haydar, a University alum, said.

Haydar was the main organizer of Monday’s vigil commemorating fallen and injured Syrian students. Rather than plan smaller, separate vigils of their own, Oakland University and University of Michigan-Flint students took part in the vigil on the Diag.

UM-Flint graduate student Abarar Jondy, said she felt an obligation to make the trip to the Ann Arbor for the vigil.

“It’s about an hour away, but it’s worth it,” Jondy said. “I think the most important thing to recognize is they’re just like us, trying to have some sort of normalcy.”

Flint senior Heeba Dlewati, who is from Syria, has personal experience with the political issues plaguing her home country.

“I was detained twice for peaceful protesting,” she said.

Dlewati read the names of the students who were killed during the bombing of Damascus University and shared a story of a young boy from an impoverished family who was also killed in the attack. She said the boy was known for selling gum around the university to earn extra money.

LSA junior Zeinab Khalil has been to countless vigils for Syria over the last two years. She said the rights being demanded by the Syrian people are basic and merely an attempt to live a dignified life.

“It’s not as complicated as people want to make it seem.”

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