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Syria - Jun 10, 2011 - 20:05

Last modified: 10 Jun 2011 17:05

Hundreds of students held a pro-democracy protest in Aleppo University today, before being attacked and dispersed by pro-Assad students and secret police who arrested 50, according to an opposition leader speaking to Al Jazeera from Aleppo. 

Several hundred protesters also gathered in the Seif Addoulah district in Aleppo following Friday prayers, but were also attacked by secret police supported by pro-regime Aleppan families, he opposition leader said. 

"It is important to see Aleppo moving towards demonstrations for freedom, although it is slowly. But it is very important to see Aleppo joining the uprising," he said. 

Aleppo, Syria's largest city and the capital of trade and commerce, has been largely quiet since the uprising began, with only intermittent protests by students.

For the first time since the uprising began villages and towns around Aleppo also saw protests today, including Hraytan and Akhtareen, where several thousand gathered to call for freedom and support for Jisr al-Shughur which is less than 100km west of Aleppo.