Minaret Of The Great Umayyad Mosque In Aleppo Destroyed In Syrian Conflict [VIDEOS/PHOTOS]

 @MayaErgas
on April 25 2013 11:56 AM

 

The latest casualty of the Syrian civil war is the ancient Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo, one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Reports out of Syria indicate the Great Mosque had its minaret destroyed in clashes between rebel and government forces. Naturally, both sides are blaming each other.

The mosque is a Unesco-designated World Heritage Site. In a statement released yesterday, Unesco Director-General Irina Bokova said she was “distressed” over the reports of the minaret’s destruction and noted that it had already suffered fire damage during fighting in the city in October 2012. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had promised to restore the mosque after the October fire.

Other parts of the mosque were badly damaged in the ongoing conflict, and several ancient artifacts housed in the mosque were looted, according to BBC.

Minaret Of Umayyad Mosque Smoke rises besides the Grand Umayyad mosque in Aleppo March 2. The minaret was reportedly destroyed more than a month later.  Reuters/Malek Alshemali

Heavy fighting continues in Syria in the northern Aleppo province and around the capital, Damascus. Rebels have now taken control of the Aleppo airport, according to AFP.

Syrian Fighter Near Umayyad Mosque Minaret A Free Syrian army fighter takes cover from snipers near the Grand Umayyad mosque in Aleppo March 2. The minaret is no longer standing.  Reuters/Malek Alshemali

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