Intense clashes made the souks and the area around the Umayyad Mosque one of the fiercest front lines in Syria. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
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In the rubble-strewn square outside Aleppo's ancient citadel and under the scorched vaults of its covered souk, workmen are starting to mend the destruction of a war that has shattered the Syrian city's priceless historical heritage.Aleppo is one of the Middle East's great historic centers.When fighting erupted in Aleppo in 2012, a year after the rising against President Bashar Assad had begun elsewhere in Syria, rebels took its eastern districts and much of the Old City.Under the painted cupola of the Mamlouk throne hall in the citadel, a heavy machine gun on a stand pointed toward a window and out across a wasteland of smashed buildings.The citadel, a dramatic fortress on a hill, stands at the center of Aleppo, overlooking the city. The area to its south and west, near the Umayyad Mosque, is where the Old City suffered most damage.
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