Minaret Of Iconic Syrian Mosque Destroyed In Fighting | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Minaret Of Iconic Syrian Mosque Destroyed In Fighting

The latest casualty of the Syrian war: the minaret of the famed 11th century Umayyad Mosque, a UNESCO world heritage site.

The minaret collapsed Wednesday amid fighting between government troops and Syrian rebels in the ancient city of Aleppo.

Each side accused the other of being responsible for the damage. In a statement, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova expressed her deep distress over the destruction.

"This is like blowing up the Taj Mahal or destroying the Acropolis in Athens. This mosque is a living sanctuary," Helga Seeden, a professor of archaeology at the American University of Beirut, told The Associated Press. "This is a disaster. In terms of heritage, this is the worst I've seen in Syria. I'm horrified."

The mosque had been damaged during fighting in the ancient city in October 2012. As Rasha Elass reported on NPR's All Things Considered at that time, the mosque has a storied history:

"It dates back at least to Hellenistic times, and it served as a temple to the Aramaic god of rain. Later, it became a Roman temple, then a church and, finally, 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 NPR's Deborah Amos reported last month, the city "now suffers from shortages of water, flour and electricity and widespread destruction. Disease is rampant because of festering piles of garbage.

"President Bashar Assad's military launches bombing runs and ballistic missile strikes almost daily."

Syria is home to six sites on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. An earlier UNESCO statement noted that some of the other sites had also been damaged.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Jan. 27, 2015

You can see a play about a girl whose world shifts from black and white to full color. An exhibit of abstract paintings is on view in D.C.

NPR

Beef Packers Block Plan To Revive Growth-Promoting Drug

Beef processors continue to block efforts to bring back Zilmax, a drug that makes cattle put on weight faster. Is it because they're concerned about animal welfare, or beef exports?
WAMU 88.5

Plan To Limit License Plate Tracking In Virginia Gets Bipartisan Support

Technology allows Virginia police officers to scan the license plates of passing drivers, but lawmakers want to limit how long they're allowed to hold onto that information.

NPR

Facebook Suffers Self-Inflicted Outage

A Facebook statement said the disruption was caused by a technical change it made to the site and wasn't a cyberattack. The outage lasted an hour.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.