World leaders, archaeologists and historians are outraged over the devastation wrought during Syria’s six-year war on Aleppo’s Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that had largely survived since its construction between the 12th and 16th centuries during Arab and Ottoman rule. In July 2014, east Aleppo was seized by anti-government rebels whose advance through the Old City into west Aleppo was halted by the army. After heavy bombardment and siege, the insurgents left the war-ravaged east in December last year, and the city was reunited under government control.
Good times before
Inhabited for more than 8,000 years, Aleppo vies with Syria’s capital Damascus in claiming to be the oldest continually inhabited city in the world. Aleppo was a key commercial centre on the Silk Road linking China and India to West Asia and Europe.