ALEPPO, Syria: Shelling by the Syrian army has damaged Aleppo’s historic citadel, part of a world heritage site in the heart of the commercial capital, the exiled opposition said Friday.
“Photographs by activists and archaeological associations show that the Aleppo citadel ... has been damaged,” the Syrian National Council said in a statement.
One photograph distributed by the group appeared to show damage to the citadel’s entrance.
“The way in which the shell hit the main entrance of the fortress and broke the marble panel bearing its name suggests that the Syrian regime intentionally targeted the site,” the SNC charged.
“Only regime loyalists have the kind of shell that hit.”
Aleppo’s old city has been listed by the U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization as a World Heritage Site since 1986.
The listing says that the 13th-century citadel, 12th-century Great Mosque and 17th-century Islamic schools, palaces, caravanserais and bathhouses are of “outstanding universal value.”
“The monumental citadel of Aleppo, rising above the souks, mosques and madrasas of the old walled city, is testament to Arab military might from the 12th to the 14th centuries,” it says.
It was not immediately possible to independently verify the opposition’s claim of damage to the citadel.
The Syrian army has shelled the area around the fortress several times in recent days, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 11, 2012, on page 11.