Syria’s war poses threat to country’s heritage
The statistical reports have shown that over 1450 mosques have been damaged by both rebels and the Syrian regime since the uprising of Syrian people against Bashar Assad’s regime. According to Syrian Networks for Human Rights, over 100,000 people have been killed in during the war so far.
Last year, the medieval market in Aleppo, which is located near the Umayyad Mosque, was gutted by fire sparked by fighting.
Both rebels and regime forces have turned some of Syria's significant historic sites into bases, including citadels and Turkish bath houses, while thieves have stolen artifacts from museums.
Five of Syria's six World Heritage sites have been damaged in the fighting, according to Unesco, the UN's cultural agency. Looters have broken into one of the world's best-preserved Crusader castles, Crac des Chevaliers, and ruins in the ancient city of Palmyra have been damaged.
The damage is just part of the wider devastation caused by the country's crisis, which began more than two years ago with largely peaceful protests but morphed into a civil war as the opposition took up arms in the face of a withering government crackdown.
The fighting has exacted a huge toll on the country, killing more than 100,000 people, laying waste to cities, towns and villages and forcing more than a million people to flee their homes and seek refuge abroad.
Syrian boys fetching water in a wheelbarrow look at a destroyed Syrian tank near a damaged mosque in the city of Azaz, Syria.