The Umayyad Mosque of Aleppo
The Great Mosque of Aleppo, or the Umayyad Mosque of Aleppo, is the largest and one of the oldest mosques in the city of Aleppo, Syria. It is located in al-Jalloum district of the Ancient City of Aleppo, a World Heritage Site, near the entrance to al-Madina Souq. The mosque is purportedly home to the remains of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. It was built in the beginning of the 8th century. However, the current building dates back to the 11th through 14th centuries. The minaret was built in 1090, and was destroyed during fighting in the Syrian civil war in April 2013.
On 13 October 2012 the mosque was seriously damaged during clashes between the armed groups of the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Army forces. President Bashar al-Assad issued a presidential decree to form a committee to repair the mosque by the end of 2013. The mosque was seized by rebel forces in early 2013, and, as of April 2013, was within an area of heavy fighting, with government forces stationed 200 meters (660 ft) away.
On 24 April 2013 the minaret of the mosque was reduced to rubble during an exchange of heavy weapons fire between government forces and rebels during the ongoing Syrian civil war. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that members of Jabhat al-Nusra detonated explosives inside the minaret, while opposition activists said that the minaret was destroyed by Syrian Army tank fire as part of an offensive. Countering assertions by the state media of Jabhat al-Nusra's involvement, opposition sources described them as rebels from the Tawhid Brigades who were fighting government forces around the mosque. The opposition's main political bloc, the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), condemned the minaret's destruction, calling it "an indelible disgrace" and "a crime against human civilization."