KRAK CLEANUP: As the Syrian war continues just as fiercely despite being well into the first week of Ramadan, at least one 12th century building is getting a makeover.
Here, the cleanup begins after months of fighting for Krak des Chevaliers, one of the world’s most intact Crusader castles located outside of Homs city. Centuries-old stone buttresses hang above as a member of the cleanup crew sweeps debris.
The cleaning is the first step to restore the castle from damage suffered by armed opposition groups, reported official state news agency SANA Wednesday.
“After an initial assessment of the damage, the first phase of the work plan was implemented, which was to clean the castle,” Ma’mun Abdulkarium, the general Director of Antiquities and Museums, who is leading the restoration process, told Syrian state agency SANA.
The castle, a UNESCO world heritage site, sits on a hilltop that overlooks 73 pro-regime Christian and Alawite towns.
“The Assad regime presents this step after the displacement of thousands from around Krak des Chevaliers,” a Homs-based activist told pro-opposition news site All4Syria, “and they’re the ones responsible for the bombings around the area.”
In July 2013, the regime surrounded the area after opposition fighters took refuge inside the castle, repeatedly attacking it with aerial strikes. This past March after having endured siege and bombardment for nearly a year, 350 rebels and local citizens fled the castle, leaving in the middle of the night.
The regime has controlled the castle since then.
-July 3, 2014
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