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.
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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.
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.