After siege, Aleppo’s famed Umayyad Mosque is damaged but endures

Source: Reuters

By Laila Bassam | ALEPPO, SYRIA

The remains of the medieval Umayyad Mosque’s felled minaret lie in its once-elegant courtyard along with discarded mattresses, fragments of rockets and antique doors, but, after years of fighting, Aleppo’s holiest monument endures.

The minaret and the covered markets that surrounded the mosque may have been destroyed in battles between the Syrian army and rebel fighters in 2012 and 2013, but despite suffering great damage, much of the mosque has survived.

After sweeping army advances over recent days [nL5N1E82DB] that pushed rebels far from the Old City where the mosque was on a front line, Syria’s Grand Mufti Ahmed Badr al-Din Hassoun hailed its recapture by government forces.

“I remember when I would give sermons at dawn prayers,” he said in an emotional speech on state television, referring to the mosque as “the crown of Aleppo”.

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