As reported by several news agencies yesterday, one of Syria’s UNESCO world heritage sites was destroyed in fighting yesterday (April 24th, 2013). The minaret of the famed 11th century Umayyad Mosque collapsed Wednesday amid fighting between government troops and Syrian rebels in the ancient city of Aleppo while each side accused the other side for this destruction.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, in an official statement said: “This is like blowing up the Taj Mahal or destroying the Acropolis in Athens.
The mosque which had earlier been damaged during fighting in the ancient city in October 2012 has an impressive history that dates back at least to Hellenistic times, and is believed that it served as a temple to the Aramaic god of rain. Later, it became a Roman temple, then a church. And early in the 8th century, a mosque – one of the most important sites in the Muslim world today.
Modern Aleppo, Syria’s commercial capital has been badly affected by Syria’s civil war. As reported by National Public Radio and many other agencies, the city now suffers from shortages of water, flour and electricity and widespread destruction. Disease is rampant because of festering piles of garbage. Syria is home to six sites on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list and most have been damaged as a result of continued fighting.