War has completely gripped the once majestic Syria, taking more than 300,000 innocent lives.
The silent witnesses to the violence and death are the many sites that once made Syria a top destination, blessed with its many well-kept and preserved heritage sites.
The buildings and structures that once witnessed monumental, historical events have now been reduced to a wartorn landscape as many of its previously bustling citizens flee to save their lives.
Site of Palmyra
In the northeast of Damascus lies the oasis Palmyra, a city that is considered one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world, having witnessed the life and industry of the earlier civilizations. Standing on the crossroads of different ancient cultures, Palmyra adopted Graeco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences in art and architecture.
Bab al-Nasr District in Aleppo
Bab al-Nasr, meaning the Gate of Victory in Arabic, is in the wartorn city of Aleppo and is one of its nine historical gates. It was once known for its bustling streets and grand citadel but was also destroyed during the Ottoman period. It eventually regained its former glory. Today it is unrecognizable from the once beautiful, historic site.
The Great Mosque of Aleppo or Umayyad Mosque
The Great Mosque of Aleppo stood the test of time from when it was built by Umayyad Caliph Sulayman in 717 CE. While it was renovated several times, it is considered one of the most beautiful masterpieces of the Muslim world. Today its once beautiful and delicate halls lie charred and in ruin.
Krak des Chevaliers
This medieval castle atop a hill in Tartus, Syria is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is deemed one of the most important preserved medieval castles in the world. The beautiful classic was badly damaged after an air raid and a number of other attacks. The extent of the damage on the castle remains unclear.
Many of Syria's once beautiful sites have been destroyed by the war via shelling, demolition, military occupation and even looting. Out of the six UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country, all have suffered damage in one form or another. A national campaign under the banner "Save Syria's History" was launched by the organization to promote the preservation of Syrian culture for future generations despite their museums and cultural sites being illegally looted.
On Feb. 12, 2015, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution condemning the destruction of the destruction of cultural Heritage Sites and the looting and illegal trafficking of valuable antiquities and cultural items.