- Title: Locals "shocked" at damage in Aleppo's Old City, now under Syrian army control
- Date: 10th December 2016
- Summary: ALEPPO, SYRIA (DECEMBER 10, 2016) (REUTERS) PEOPLE WALKING IN FARHAT SQUARE CHURCH VARIOUS OF DAMAGED STREETS AND STORES SIGN READING (Arabic): "BEIT GHAZALEH-MUSEUM OF TRADITIONAL ART" (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) STORE OWNER IN OLD ALEPPO, MOAHAMD LABABIDI, SAYING: "It is the first time I've see it in five years. I was so sad. This is the first time I've come here in five years. I heard that people are returning I came." HATAB SQUARE VARIOUS OF DAMAGED STORES AND BUILDINGS JOURNALISTS FILMING VARIOUS OF DAMAGED STORES AND BUILDINGS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) FORMER DIRECTOR OF ALEPPO MUSEUM, MOHAMAD SHAABAN, SAYING: "I am shocked and sad. I am surprised. I came here before but it was not damaged like this. They destroyed the civilisation. They destroyed the heritage in the oldest archaeological place on earth." DAMAGED BUILDINGS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) FORMER DIRECTOR OF ALEPPO MUSEUM, MOHAMAD SHAABAN, SAYING: "The damage forms more than 70 per cent and there are places where 100 per cent of them are destroyed." VARIOUS OF TUNNEL THAT SEPARATED ARMY FROM REBELS VARIOUS OF DEFENCES OF REBELS REBEL WEAPONS
- Embargoed: 25th December 2016 13:22
- Keywords: Aleppo ruins old city history museum conflict Syria Assad
- Location: ALEPPO, SYRIA
- City: ALEPPO, SYRIA
- Country: Syria
- Reuters ID: LVA0015CAVLFR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Locals lamented the devastation of Aleppo's Old City on Saturday (December 10) after its capture by government forces.
After the Syrian army fought rebels in Aleppo's Old City, hungry and terrified civilians have emerged from their cellars into a wasteland of ruins.
Some areas of the UNESCO World Heritage Old City, recaptured by the government in the last few days, were completely destroyed by fighting, a Reuters correspondent said. Old markets and bathhouses had been flattened.
"It is the first time I've see it in five years. I was so sad. This is the first time I've come here in five years. I heard that people are returning I came", local store owner, Mohamad Lababidi, told Reuters.
The former director of Aleppo Museum, Mohamad Shaaban, said he was "shocked and sad" by the extent of the damage.
"I am surprised. I came here before but it was not damaged like this. They destroyed the civilisation. They destroyed the heritage in the oldest archaeological place on earth," Shaaban said.
"The damage forms more than 70% and there are places where 100% of them are destroyed," he added.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said a number of people were killed in rebel shelling of government areas on Saturday. Hundreds of people have been killed in recent weeks, mostly in government bombardments, it says.
Thousands of people have left rebel-held districts in the government assault. Some have fled to government-held areas but others have gone to other areas under the control of the rebels, fearing arrest and reprisals by government forces.
Syrian government forces and Russian jets bombarded rebel-held districts of Aleppo on Saturday as Damascus's allies said victory was near, but insurgents fought back and army advances halted after rapid gains during the week.
Russia, whose military intervention helped turn the war in President Bashar al-Assad's favour, said the Syrian government now controls 93 percent of second city Aleppo, a figure Reuters could not independently verify. Its recapture would deal a major blow to rebels who have fought to unseat Assad in the nearly six-year civil war.
The insurgents are holed out in a handful of areas mostly south of the historic Old City, having lost nearly three-quarters of territory they controlled for years in divided Aleppo in the space of around two weeks.
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