Friends of Syria

Thousands have been killed and millions made homeless in Syria’s civil war, but it has also caused irreparable damage to some of the world’s most precious historical sites. The treasures now being destroyed matter to everyone on the planet, argues historian Dan Snow.

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In August 2012 fire tore through the heart of the Syrian city of Aleppo. One Western journalist said parts of it, including much of the medieval covered market, or souk, were “burned to smithereens”.

Old Aleppo is a Unesco World Heritage site, recognized by the world as being internationally significant, a vital piece of humanity’s shared past. Central Aleppo was a stunningly preserved medieval settlement, probably the finest example of its kind in the world.

It was as if parts of Stonehenge or the heart of Edinburgh had been wiped out. The fire was caused by the vicious fighting that has swept across Syria since a civil…

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