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.

 

Saudi warns of 'disastrous consequences' over US 9/11 law

3,800 Syrian civilians killed by Russian strikes in one year

World leaders attend Shimon Peres’ funeral

UN warns 100,000 people trapped in South Sudan town

Bulgaria approves full-face Islamic veil ban

Jordanians rally against gas deal with Israel

Israel pays Turkey $20 million compensation for Gaza flotilla raid

Egypt MP suggests university virginity tests

Morocco to speed repatriation of citizens in Germany illegally

Turkey opposition leader condemns Erdogan’s ‘coup against democracy’

French jets set off to join action as battle for Mosul looms

Moroccan left hopes to offer 'third way' at polls

Renault signs Iran auto venture

Saudi border guard killed, 3 civilians hurt by shelling from Yemen

Turkey issues warrants for judicial, prison staff

MSF warns Syria, Russia to stop ‘bloodbath’ in Aleppo

Russia waiting to see OPEC freeze deal details

Police raid Casablanca market after rumours of sex dolls

UN warns 700,000 will need aid once Mosul offensive starts

Saudi seeks oil leadership in economic pinch

Egypt court suspends block on island transfer to Saudi

Bid for international Yemen war probe fails at UN

UN warns 'hundreds' in Aleppo need medical evacuation

Palestinian president to attend Peres funeral

King Abdullah visits home of murdered writer

Amnesty accuses Sudan of using chemical arms against Darfur civilians

Bahrain says 9/11 bill will harm US

9/11 bill puts US, Saudi cooperation in question

UN envoy says Syria talks 'very difficult with bombs falling'

Erdogan says Moody's was 'bought' after downgrade

Erdogan: Turkey may need state of emergency for more than a year

Iraqi activist wins Norway rights prize

Kidnapped German woman, baby freed in Syria

Turkey stops Kurdish TV broadcasts

A year of bombing in Syria triggers limited interest in Russia

Obama defends refusal to use military force to end Syria civil war

US Congress overrides Obama's veto of Saudi 9/11 bill

OPEC agrees deal to cut oil output

Palestinians react to death of Peres

Poverty takes toll in rebel-held Yemen fishing village

Kerry threatens to end negotiations with Russia on Syria

Kuwaiti court scraps petrol price hike

Iraq requests more US troops to take on IS in Mosul

Airstrikes hit hospitals in rebel-held Aleppo

Iran nuclear chief says not worried about Trump