Before & after: War ravages Syria historical sites

Aleppo, Syria's economic capital, looks a shadow of its ‘world’s oldest city’ reputation after five years of war

Ismaeel Naar
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Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, was considered by many to be the world’s oldest inhabited city by many.

Aleppo was ruled successively by the Hittites, Assyrians, Arabs, Mongols, Mamelukes and Ottomans, according to UNESCO.


Known for its old-town souks and mosques, many argued that it was Aleppo that laid the groundwork – from dates as early as 6,000 BC – for what Damascus, today’s Syria’s capital.

Nearly five years later, the old souks, hammams and mosques are all in ruins after the city fell besieged from fighting between troops loyal to Bashar al-Assad and armed opposition groups.

Once Syria’s economic powerhouse, Aleppo city has been divided since 2012 between government control in the west and rebel groups in the east.

It has also been hit by Russia, who in November last year stuck an ISIS-held treatment plant that left 1.4 million people in the city without any water at all.

Ancient Citadel:

Ummayad mosque:

Old Souk, Aleppo:

Al-Kindi Hospital, Aleppo:

Omari Mosque, Deraa:

Al-Madinah Souk, Aleppo:

Additional reporting by Tarek Soliman

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