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.

 

Turkey, US agree to ‘work together’ in Syria

Fears of expanding Syrian war could trigger peace deal

Six suffer breathing difficulties after Turkish shelling in Afrin

Thousands protest corruption in Tel Aviv amid PM indictment call

Syrians crammed in shared flats in Afrin

Russian mercenaries - a discrete weapon in Syria

Iran protests ban on wrestler who threw bout to avoid Israel

Battle to free Mosul of IS 'intellectual terrorism'

Turkey frees Garman-Turk journalist after one year without charge

Turkey hands life sentences to 3 journalists for Gulen links

Prominent jihadist commander killed by rival Syria rebels

300 Russians killed in Syria battle last week

Tillerson, Erdogan have ‘productive, open’ talk

Iran raises rates, freezes accounts in bid to shore up rial

Kremlin says five Russians killed in US Syria strikes

Oman FM in rare visit by Arab official to Jerusalem

Senior IS leader extradited to Iraq from Turkey

Strikes hit another hospital in Syria's Idlib

Churches snub Jerusalem reception over tax dispute with Israeli authorities

Tillerson says US never gave 'heavy arms' to Kurdish YPG

Captured foreign IS suspects claim innocence

Yemeni mother awaits death penalty for spying for UAE

Fuel shortage shuts down Gaza's only power plant

Morocco arrests three suspected IS terrorists

Family of dead environmentalist in Iran threatened

Israel hands life sentence to Palestinian for triple murder

US appeals to Turkey to concentrate on fighting IS

Turkey sets up new 'observation point' in Syria's Idlib

Malaysia rejects criticism over Israeli visit

Tillerson in Ankara to ease Turkey tensions

Egypt arrests ex-presidential candidate

Tillerson: Hezbollah is part of Lebanon's 'political process'

Netanyahu says government ‘stable’ despite police recommending indictment

Corruption accusations facing Netanyahu

Syria denies ‘unacceptable’ chemical weapons use

Nations pledge nearly $25 billion toward Iraq's reconstruction

Egypt remands in custody former anti-corruption chief

Turkish PM 'hopes' German journalist is freed soon

US agrees to send $1 billion in annual aid to Jordan

Iran arrests money changers amid rial collapse

Saudi Arabia seeks to further reduce oil stockpiles

Turkey imposes curfews in Kurdish-majority province

Tillerson urges allies to focus on fighting IS

France threatens Syria strikes if chemical attacks proven

Tillerson says enduring IS defeat not yet achieved