Syrian rebels seize the ancient mosque, one of the country’s oldest in rebel-held territory


An archaeological site in northern Syria’s Idlib province was seized on Monday by rebel fighters who took control of the historic site, one that dates back to the 12th century, a monitoring group said.

The site is a symbol of the ancient Syrian city of Aleppo, which fell to rebels in a four-year civil war.

Syria’s antiquities ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the seizure.

In a statement, the antiquities committee of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain, said the site is one of seven monuments at the site of the medieval town of Al-Quds that are important for preserving the heritage of the people of Aleppo.

The Syrian Observatory said militants attacked the site on Sunday, seizing a mosque, an ancient minaret and other artifacts.

The antiquities council said the rebels also took control over a nearby cemetery, which has been closed for over a year.

The Observatory did not say when the cemetery was closed, but it was closed earlier this year after fighting in the area.

Al Jazeera’s Ibrahim Al-Masri, reporting from the site, said fighting erupted after rebels took control.

The museum contains items from ancient times, and also shows artifacts of the Arab-Islamic era, he said.

It is a unique site in Syria that has remained largely untouched by the civil war that began in 2011.

It’s a symbolic part of the history of Aleppo and its surroundings and will be of great importance to those who want to see the city preserved,” Al- Masri said.

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