Syria Fighting Leaves Historic Aleppo Market in Flames
The historic bazaar in the Syrian city of Aleppo was in flames Saturday, the latest casualty in a lingering conflict that has taken its toll not only in human lives but in damage to Syria’s infrastructure and heritage.
The Souk Madina in Aleppo’s Old City caught fire as fighting continued to rage in the nation’s most populous city, where rebels and government troops have been battling for control for more than two months.
Video posted on the Internet showed flames engulfing part of the centuries-old bazaar, one of the city’s landmark structures and long a favored tourist destination. A separate video showed what appeared to be the charred remains of vendors’ stalls in the souk.
The sprawling covered market, home to multitudes of shops, is known for its narrow internal passageways, which wind beneath vaulted stone arches. Much of the structure dates from the Ottoman era. But the souk has remained an active market and a popular attraction for area shoppers and foreign visitors seeking bargains and atmosphere.
The extent of the damage to the market was not clear.
One opposition activist reported that hundreds of shops had burned and that rebel fighters were trying to extinguish the fires.
Each side in the conflict reportedly blamed the other for the blaze. Snipers were said to be active in the area, possibly hindering efforts to douse the flames.