A Syrian college student who tried to help another after two bombs exploded at their university experienced an unthinkably gruesome moment.
Simon, an Aleppo University dental student, ran to help a young woman he saw walking zombie-like and clearly injured. He shouted to her and reached out.
"I came to hold her hand ... to help her ..." Simon said. "It came off of her. I was holding her dismembered hand in mine."
Death came to Aleppo University, a place that has somehow avoided much of the carnage of the Syrian war. A video purportedly showing the blasts was posted on YouTube.
At least 87 people were killed and dozens were wounded after twin blasts shook the campus on Tuesday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based group that is speaking for rebels fighting to oust the country's president.
The death toll is expected to rise, but the observatory says the majority of the dead are students and civilians who've had to flee their homes because of the war and have been living in the university dorms.
"I was on campus when I heard a plane over head from a distance," Simon recalled to CNN.
"Suddenly a loud explosion erupted just 50 meters away at the gates of the College of Architecture," he said. "Since many roads in Aleppo are blocked, this is one of the few roadways that is open for those traveling though Aleppo."
At least 10 cars were blown to nothing, killing the people inside, he said.
Minutes later a second blast exploded a few meters away.
"But this time, thank God, it was mainly material damage, not casualties," he said.
He ran to help the injured and began loading Suzuki trucks with the wounded and the dead. It was chaos. He was following his instincts in that moment.
Each vehicle sped off with about 10 bodies.
"I counted," he said. "At least 50 bodies."
When he got to the hospital, he saw an awful scene. The hospital was full of so many who appeared critically wounded.
By the time CNN spoke with him, Simon was trying to process what he'd experienced.
Students on campus believe the government specifically targeted the school.
"Aleppo University is known as the university of the revolution," Simon said. "We staged a peaceful protest last week, and this is why were targeted. Our pro-government professors would always threaten us and say 'we swear we will shell this university.'"
Simon told CNN that 15 minutes after the explosions, Al Duniya TV, a pro-government station, was on the scene.
"We were wondering how they got there so fast," he said.
He said that when the bombs went off, the university gates were closed, and campus security would not open them.
"Students were trying to climb the fences to get out, but security pushed them back," he said.
The students then turned on the Duniya TV crew and began beating them.
He said the crew was reporting that there had been a ground explosion, but he and others were sure that it was aerial shelling, suggesting that the government targeted the campus.
"They were lying in front of our eyes!" Simon said.