ِِA Historical Building in Aleppo, Syria, Leveled by a Huge Blast

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Aleppo (Syria) - PanOrient News

A huge blast leveled one of the most monumental buildings in Syria’s second largest historical and economic city, Aleppo, on May 8th.

The iconic 117 year old Carlton Hotel has become the latest victim in the Syrian civil war when a group which goes by the name “Islamic Front” claimed responsibility for demolishing the hotel “because it became a military post for (Bashar) Assad’s army”.

“I felt a big shake and thought it was an earthquake”, an eyewitness told PanOrient News in Aleppo. “Most residents of our city then heard a huge sound followed by shock waves that awakened many as the explosion took place after in the early morning hours”.

Another local resident said, “We got used to hearing blasts created by the fighting among groups in the city and by the government fighters bombings and shelling residential areas, but the blast this morning was so huge that many people in far areas felt as if their own houses were hit by a rocket or a missile”.

After the dust settled, the once glorious hotel building was reduced to rubble. Nothing in its structure survived the explosives that were placed in tunnels beneath the building, a tactic used by those who claim they are fighting the army of embattled Syrian president Bashar Assad.

Surrounding historical buildings were also damaged, some severely.

The Carlton Hotel, not related to the Ritz Carlton chain, was constructed with 32 guest rooms and large halls during the reign of Jameel Pasha, ruler of Aleppo in 1897. It was originally designated to be a hospital and was called later, Hospital of the Strangers” because it treated poor patients for free.

The hotel faces the Citadel of Aleppo, and adjacent to the famous archaeological Khan Al-Shonah, and is close to the Umayyad Mosque, Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions, Turkish bath, all of which are part of the old city of Aleppo. The hotel is a 20-minute drive from the airport of the city.

Observers say the destruction of the hotel and most of the landmarks of Aleppo archaeological sites in the old city, including the Umayyad Mosque and the old market, is one of the tragic results of the current violence raging in the country.

Some local Syrians say there is a systematic process to destroy Syria's historical and cultural and religious sites”.

“With no solution in the horizon to end the current mini wars between armed groups, among themselves and against government forces, the once labeled “museum of the world” country, or Syria, is under the threat of losing its historical identity and its treasures preserved thousands of years”, a former official of the Syrian Ministry of Tourism told PanOrient News asking not to be named.

Pan Orient News

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