When the Syrian revolution was born, students at different universities across the country joined forces to record the Assad regime’s violations against them and against the people of Homs and Banias, who were targeted in the early stages of the revolution.
These students tried to organize on-campus protests, such as the renowned protests of Aleppo University, and to distribute leaflets to other students and instructors.
But these activities put the lives of the students at stake. The student unions at their respective universities attempted to track them down in order to pass their names on to security forces, who would in turn arrest the students for their anti-regime activity. Though the student union’s duty was to protect students, it did the exact opposite. The student union recruited the help of other university students and instructors, who aided in the arrest of those involved in the on-campus movements.
The need for self-protection among these students grew, so they began working in secret. Slowly, the groups expanded. Former members of the student union joined their ranks, and taught the students how to protect their identities, as well as the identities of individuals partaking in other revolutionary activities. And thus, the Union of Free Syrian Students (UFSS) was born.
The UFSS grew, and most Syrian universities with revolutionary activities established a branch. Members of the newly-founded UFSS worked hard to reform the manner in which students organized themselves. They organized peaceful, on-campus demonstrations, and worked with other student organizations in an attempt to learn from their experiences. In short, the UFSS was trying to be the voice of Syrian students in pursuit of freedom and freedom of expression. The leaflets distributed by the UFSS were very simply written, ensuring that even the uneducated population could benefit.
Now, more than two years into the Syrian revolution, the UFSS is considered a credible and highly-reputable organization that is often cited by media.
One of the tasks undertaken by the union is the verification and documentation of regime violations against students in Syria. The UFSS established a website used to archive these violations, and it publishes a weekly report containing all relevant information.
The website also includes a section for the union’s creative projects and events. UFSS established a magazine titled “The Voice of the Free,” in which students’ writing, creative illustrations and posters are published.
The work of the UFSS is not limited to inside Syria. Members of the union reach out to Syrian students who were forced to flee the country, helping them gain admission into universities around the globe and find scholarships to finance their education. A number of countries worldwide have come to know and recognize the UFSS name.
The friends of the Union of Free Syrian Students are:
- Damascus Branch
- Daraa Branch
- Aleppo Branch
- Homs Branch
- Hama Branch
- Latakia Branch
- The Coordination of the College of Law at the Damascus Branch
- Coalition of the Free Students of Damascus University
- The Union of Free Syrian Students - Damascus
- The Union of Free Syrian Students - Damascus Suburbs - College of Media
- The Union of Free Syrian Students - Damascus Suburbs - College of Law
- The Union of Free Syrian Students - Damascus- College of Dentistry
- The Union of Free Syrian Students - Damascus- College of Economics
- The Students and Intellectuals of Qabun Group | The Union of Free Syrian Students
- University City Coordination Committee in Homs City
- College of Medicine Coordination Committee at al-Furat University
- The Free Students of Salamia
- The Union of Free Syrian Universities against Bashar Al-Assad
- The Revolution Coordination Committee of Private Universities
- The Private University of Qalamoun
- The Coordination Committee at the Private University of Qalamoun Against Bashar Al-Assad
- University Students for Change
- The Private University of Yarmouk
- The Arab European University
- The Private International University
- The Arab Gulf Private University
- Al-Furat Branch which includes:
- Deir ez-Zor Branch
- Raqqa Branch
- Hasaka Branch
The UFSS has branches in the following countries:
- Saudi Arabia
And representatives in the following countries:
- United States