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UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova expressed her deep distress over reports of the continuing destruction which has severely damaged the ancient city of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1986. Today, the minaret of one of Syria's most famous mosques was destroyed during clashes in the northern city of Aleppo.
The mosque, which is located within the UNESCO World Heritage site, has been devastated during the clashes and its minaret was reduced to debris.
The Great Mosque, at the heart of the ancient city of Aleppo, had already been badly damaged by fire during heavy fighting in the ancient city in October 2012. On that occasion, the Director-General reminded all parties of the country’s obligations under the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, to which Syria is a signatory.
The Ancient City of Aleppo was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1986, in recognition of its “rare and authentic Arab architectural styles” and its testimony to the city's cultural, social, and technological development from the Mameluke period. It is one of six Syrian World Heritage sites.