Unhappy news for a Wednesday morning. Beautiful Aleppo will never be the same again. Most of the mosque dates (or dated) to the 13th century, although remains of earlier constructions survived too, including the 11th century minaret.
A landmark mosque in Aleppo has been burned, scarred by bullets and trashed – the latest casualty of Syria’s civil war.
The Umayyad Mosque suffered extensive damage, as has the nearby medieval covered market, or souk, which was gutted by a fire that was sparked by fighting two weeks ago.
The market and the mosque are centrepieces of Aleppo’s walled Old City, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Government troops had been holed up in the mosque for months before rebels launched a push this week to drive them out. Activists and Syrian government officials blamed each other for the weekend fire at the mosque. . . .
Five of Syria’s six World Heritage sites have been damaged in the fighting, according to UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency. Looters have broken into one of the world’s best-preserved Crusader castles, Crac des Chevaliers, and ruins in the ancient city of Palmyra have been damaged.
The above article has three photographs of the ruins, and there are more on the BBC website. Apparently President Assad has issued a presidential decree to to create a committee whose remit will be to ensure that repair to the mosque will be completed by the end of 2013, although, as the above article says, “it’s not clear what such a body could do amid a raging civil war.”