February 22, 2014 - 15:53 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Syrian Minister of Culture Lubanah Mshaweh urged international organizations "to help Syria protect Aleppo citadel from the attacks of terrorists and preserve the old city and its cultural heritage sites."
The Minister, in a statement, referred to the need for cooperation with the Syrian government to rescue what has been remained of historic features in Aleppo, FARS news agency reported citing Syrian media.
She clarified that the latest reports from different sides affirm that the volume of damage that hit the city’s cultural heritage has exceeded the last year’s statistics which mentioned that various parts of 121 buildings, in addition to old markets, have come under fire.
She warned against the dangers of threats posed by the rebel groups to blow up Aleppo citadel, the most remarkable site which shows the history of region.
The rebels have burned and destroyed a number of historic markets and khans in Aleppo and also have targeted the city's Great Mosque.
The Citadel of Aleppo is a large medieval fortified palace in the centre of the old city of Aleppo, northern Syria. It is considered to be one of the oldest and largest castles in the world. Usage of the Citadel hill dates back at least to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. Subsequently occupied by many civilizations including the Greeks, Byzantines, Ayyubids and Mamluks, the majority of the construction as it stands today is thought to originate from the Ayyubid period. An extensive conservation work has taken place in the 2000s by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in collaboration with Aleppo Archeological Society. Dominating the city, the Citadel is part of the Ancient City of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986.
Today, the citadel is a tourist attraction and a site of archaeological digs and studies. The amphitheater is often used for musical concerts or cultural events. In August 2012, during the Battle of Aleppo of the Syrian civil war, the external gate of the citadel was damaged after being shelled during a clash between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Army to gain control over the citadel.