Aleppo’s Silk Road souk burns to ashes

Large parts of Aleppo’s covered market, the largest of its kind in the world and a Unesco world heritage site that traces its history back to the 14th century, have been reduced to ashes as government forces and rebels fight for control of the city.

Shops caught fire during clashes on Saturday and the flames spread rapidly, destroying at least 1,500 shops, partly because many of the small retail units tucked beneath the market’s ancient arches were full of fabric, activists said.

“It is not only the souk (market) that is burning, my heart is burning as well,” said an activist called Hashem, who learned the craft of jewellery making in the market.

The devastation is a reminder of how the 18-month-old conflict – in which activists estimate 30,000 people have been killed – is destroying Syria’s rich cultural and historical legacy as well as the lives of its 22.5m people.

Aleppo’s old city is one of several places that Unesco, the United Nations cultural agency, has designated world heritage sites and which are now at risk.

Activists accused government forces of using incendiary bullets to attack rebels who had taken up positions in the market after launching a new offensive in the city on Thursday.

“The fighters tried to put out the fire but failed to do so because snipers were shooting at them,” another activist said. “The fire is still raging and at least 1,500 shops have now been burnt down.”

The market – Souk al-Madina – comprises a network of vaulted stone alleyways and carved wooden facades and was once a tourist attraction and a busy cosmopolitan trading hub on the ancient Silk Road from China. Its many narrow alleys have a combined length of 13km (eight miles).

The market sold everything from soap to jewelery to clothing.

Guardian

  • Patience2

    So, once Bashar’s wife got a bad deal there, so here’s how he gets his justice!

  • Patience2

    So, once Bashar’s wife got a bad deal there, so here’s how he gets his justice!

  • Patience2

    So, once Bashar’s wife got a bad deal there, so here’s how he gets his justice!

  • breakthemould

    Too awful to see it. I makes me sick

    • 5thDrawer

      I’m sure many tourists have pictures which can be collected into a coffee-table book for history.
      Assad wanted to ‘modernize’ anyway … burning it was as effective as flattening concrete buildings with bombs.

    • 5thDrawer

      I’m sure many tourists have pictures which can be collected into a coffee-table book for history.
      Assad wanted to ‘modernize’ anyway … burning it was as effective as flattening concrete buildings with bombs.

  • breakthemould

    Too awful to see it. I makes me sick

    • 5thDrawer

      I’m sure many tourists have pictures which can be collected into a coffee-table book for history.
      Assad wanted to ‘modernize’ anyway … burning it was as effective as flattening concrete buildings with bombs.

  • plummerjoe

    Here goes, gone civilization of a town that stamped leader that history witnessed – and the ass-aid dictator is writing his name  in the toilet of this modern civilization!

  • plummerjoe

    Here goes, gone civilization of a town that stamped leader that history witnessed – and the ass-aid dictator is writing his name  in the toilet of this modern civilization!

  • It’s seems a very sad tragedy. In some way it reminds me the stories about burning ancient Jerusalem by the Romans (70 AD) or the systematical destruction and burning of Warsaw by the Nazis in 1944. Civil war is the worst thing that can happen to a country.

    • Mahdi Kenaani

      are you happy now? see what the terrorists your country supports are doing to syria!!!!!

      • Have you read what I wrote? I said it is a sad tragedy. But you are so primitive that you can’t imagine that an Israeli can actually feel sorrow for the ordinary civilians in other countries.

        Don’t you know Israel is neutral regarding the Syrian civil war? 

        • Mahdi Kenaani

          what you say doesnt tally wiith your actions why i never gonna believe a word from you! If you really are able to FEEL the emotion “sorriness” the first thing you should do is to move from the zionist apartheid regime!

          IsraHELL is neutral regarding the syrian civil war???? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. and santa exists for sure

    • Mahdi Kenaani

      are you happy now? see what the terrorists your country supports are doing to syria!!!!!

      • Have you read what I wrote? I said it is a sad tragedy. But you are so primitive that you can’t imagine that an Israeli can actually feel sorrow for the ordinary civilians in other countries.

        Don’t you know Israel is neutral regarding the Syrian civil war? 

        • Mahdi Kenaani

          what you say doesnt tally wiith your actions why i never gonna believe a word from you! If you really are able to FEEL the emotion “sorriness” the first thing you should do is to move from the zionist apartheid regime!

          IsraHELL is neutral regarding the syrian civil war???? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. and santa exists for sure

  • It’s seems a very sad tragedy. In some way it reminds me the stories about burning ancient Jerusalem by the Romans (70 AD) or the systematical destruction and burning of Warsaw by the Nazis in 1944. Civil war is the worst thing that can happen to a country.

    • Mahdi Kenaani

      are you happy now? see what the terrorists your country supports are doing to syria!!!!!

      • Have you read what I wrote? I said it is a sad tragedy. But you are so primitive that you can’t imagine that an Israeli can actually feel sorrow for the ordinary civilians in other countries.

        Don’t you know Israel is neutral regarding the Syrian civil war? 

        • Mahdi Kenaani

          what you say doesnt tally wiith your actions why i never gonna believe a word from you! If you really are able to FEEL the emotion “sorriness” the first thing you should do is to move from the zionist apartheid regime!

          IsraHELL is neutral regarding the syrian civil war???? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. and santa exists for sure

  • $31060015

    May the Free Syrian Terrorist burn in hell for the atrocities they have caused in Syria. Basher and the army should show no mercy to these animals. Thank god the army is still very strong and the people are aware of what is really going on.

    • Mahdi Kenaani

      iran should sent in their army to help syrians to get rid of these terrorists!!!!!!!

      • $31060015

        The time for that has not come brother. But make no mistake, It is defiantly on the cards. If these other western animals attack, Then Iran will rain hell on them. Oh and lets not forget the big man himself, Sayyed Hassan. If Iran rains hell, then he will rain the hell of hells on them.

        • Mahdi Kenaani

          but we cant just stand by while the zionists kill our syrians brothers every day!!!

  • AntiFSA

    May the Free Syrian Terrorist burn in hell for the atrocities they have caused in Syria. Basher and the army should show no mercy to these animals. Thank god the army is still very strong and the people are aware of what is really going on.

    • 5thDrawer

      I’m sure they ARE …. very aware … from the first day some children wrote on a wall.

      • AntiFSA

        No need to be sure 5th, I can reassure you they are aware. They have seen what has happened in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and list goes on and on. I know you must find it hard to believe, however most of the country supports Basher and the Army. Oh that’s right, the main stream media paints a different picture. Maybe I should be like you and just believe what they tell me, Like a sheep.

        • 5thDrawer

          Well Mr Anti … The Silence of the Lambs who will not have the chance to grow into sheep has become a huge noise not easily blocked out. Believing only media is not necessary.
          Reality is – that most of our human ‘societies’ are sheep … and will follow whoever seems to promise a quiet and plentiful pasture. They may not even know the farmer that well, but they know his dogs are nipping at their heels. If the dogs lead them to green grass and a quiet day of eating, they will be happy. To run off from the herd has it’s dangers – most unknown until attempted.
          To say they ‘support’ the farmer, however, is to be as naive as the sheep.
          It’s in the ‘lambing’ season that the sheep become most agitated … and the time when the dogs are most needed by the farmer – especially when the sheep take note a little later that their lambs are disappearing.
          But of course, this analogy does not quite fit human societies. The herd of humans  remembers the lambs who have disappeared. There may still be content in a grassy field … and fear of the unknown as well as the dogs … but discussion grows and people begin to quest for something of a different nature than the fields they are led in to. And they notice that  the dogs keep a certain distance, lest they be trampled. There is a fear in the dogs as well.
          Once that happens, the apparent greener grass of the pasture beyond beacons. 
          A large enough herd of uncontrolled sheep can be a frightful thing to behold, as well as to be stuck in. Sometimes it even frightens itself.
          Humans learn to control the fear.

    • Mahdi Kenaani

      iran should sent in their army to help syrians to get ride of these terrorists!!!!!!! 

      • AntiFSA

        The time for that has not come brother. But make no mistake, It is defiantly on the cards. If these other western animals attack, Then Iran will rain hell on them. Oh and lets not forget the big man himself, Sayyed Hassan. If Iran rains hell, then he will rain the hell of hells on them.

        • Mahdi Kenaani

          but we cant just stand by while the zionists kill our syrians brothers every day!!!

  • Fauzia45

    What a shame to see a country s cultural heritage being burned!!

    • 5thDrawer

      In a WAR, the desire/need for culture and civility disappear.
      But surely, this will leave room for a huge Walmart selling everything made in China. 😉

  • Fauzia45

    What a shame to see a country s cultural heritage being burned!!

    • 5thDrawer

      In a WAR, the desire/need for culture and civility disappear.
      But surely, this will leave room for a huge Walmart selling everything made in China. 😉

  • Fauzia45

    What a shame to see a country s cultural heritage being burned!!

    • 5thDrawer

      In a WAR, the desire/need for culture and civility disappear.
      But surely, this will leave room for a huge Walmart selling everything made in China. 😉

  • 5thDrawer

    I find it strange that there’s no reporting by any – even curious animal scientists – on the number of disease-carrying rodents running from the fire. Could it be that most were, happily, fried??

  • 5thDrawer

    I find it strange that there’s no reporting by any – even curious animal scientists – on the number of disease-carrying rodents running from the fire. Could it be that most were, happily, fried??

  • 5thDrawer

    I find it strange that there’s no reporting by any – even curious animal scientists – on the number of disease-carrying rodents running from the fire. Could it be that most were, happily, fried??