First Published: 2013-07-13

 

Latest victim of Syria air strikes: Famed Krak des Chevaliers castle

 

Raids come after rebels apparently using Krak des Chevaliers as base attacked Alawite village called Qumayri, killing several people.

 

Middle East Online

Caught in crossfire

BEIRUT - An air raid on Syria's famed Krak des Chevaliers castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has damaged one of the fortress's towers, footage shot by activists showed Saturday.

Several videos posted online showed at least one air strike on Friday against the castle in central Homs province, where fighting is raging between government troops and rebel forces.

The footage shows a huge blast as a tower of the Crusader castle, which is built on a hill, appears to take a direct hit, throwing up large clouds of smoke and scattering debris in the air.

A separate video filmed inside the fortress purports to show some of the damage caused by the air strike, including a gaping hole in the ceiling and a pile of rubble below.

"God is great. This is the destruction caused by MiG air strike on the Krak des Chevaliers," says the activist filming the damage.

"Look at this, oh world. This is Bashar al-Assad bombing the Krak des Chevaliers," he adds of Syria's embattled president whom rebel forces are trying to topple.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a watchdog group, could not confirm direct hits on the castle, but said there were reports of three air strikes in the area on Friday.

The raids came after rebels apparently using the Krak des Chevaliers as a base attacked an Alawite village called Qumayri, killing several people, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Fighting in and around the fortress has been reported throughout the conflict, which began with anti-government protests in March 2011 and evolved into an armed uprising after crackdowns on demonstrations.

The Krak des Chevaliers was built between 1142 and 1271, according to UNESCO, and along with the adjoining Qalat Salah el-Din fortress, is considered one of the best preserved Crusader castles in existence.

It was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 2006, and is one of six sites in Syria designated as such.

In 2013, UNESCO decided to add all six of Syria's World Heritage sites to its World Heritage in Danger list, reflecting concerns that serious damage was being inflicted on the areas as the country's conflict continues.

The other sites include the Old Cities of Damascus and Aleppo and the ruins at ancient Palmyra.

More than 100,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, according to the Observatory, which relies on a network of activists, doctors and lawyers on the ground.

 

Syrian refugees desert Middle East for Europe

Israel to use agriculture to win friends in Africa

UN pursues Syria chemical weapons probe

71 'Syrians' dead in Austria truck tragedy

Iran premieres big-budget epic film 'Muhammad'

Al-Qaeda lashes 10 in Yemen for blasphemy, alcohol

Turkey PM to form cabinet ahead of November polls

Iraq PM orders forces to prepare to open Green Zone

UN conference on plight of minorities persecuted by IS

Spain judge accuses suspect of running IS Morocco network

Yemen army recruits 4,800 southern fighters

At least 76 die as boat sinks off Libya

US says IS cyber jihadist killed in Syria strike

S.Sudan govt calls peace deal 'reward for rebellion'

Serbia, Macedonia urge EU action on migrants

South Sudan peace deal given cautious welcome

Two Iraqi generals in Anbar suicide bomb attack

IS seizes five villages from rebels in Syria's Aleppo

Syria regime, rebels agree new 48-hour truce for three towns

Shebab gunmen ambush Somali army convoy

Iraq PM plans to implement constitutional reform

Muslims not doing enough to fight IS: Queen Rania

Lebanon charges radical Islamist Al-Assir with 'terrorism'

Qaeda group blows up Yemen army HQ in Mukalla

Palestinian rivals agree ceasefire in Lebanon camp

New migrant tragedy in Mediterranean: 40 people dead, 2,000 in danger

Tehran's shoe-shine man in a red stiletto

Saudi King to meet Obama next month on first trip to US as monarch

Turkey PM invites pro-Kurdish MPs into caretaker cabinet

Car bomb attack kills Syria opposition commander in Turkey

Arab League postpones meeting on joint military force

Erdogan sends clear message to voters: It’s either AKP or instability!

South Sudan leader meets regional leaders ahead of peace deal

Saudi Arabia ‘holding’ key suspect in 1996 Khobar bombing

Israel releases second group of migrants from desert facility

US military may have skewed reports on progress against ISIS

Aid groups launch joint call to end Gaza blockade

Qaeda in Yemen denies having held British hostage rescued by UAE

Europe fails to overcome divisions as refugee crisis accelerates

European ministers to discuss security measures after France train attack

ISIS claims bloody attack on Egypt security forces in Sinai

Saudi executes four despite moratorium call

Afghan mercenaries in Syria: Iran presses ahead with covert recruitment

Record numbers of migrants crossing into Hungary

Kuwait summons Iran envoy over disputed gas field