How Russia bombed a UN Heritage Site in Syria

NOW reports: An area of over six square kilometers ignited all of a sudden. The whole region was ablaze in seconds. Kafranbel-based Raed Fares said he has seen the town being bombed by the Syrian regime before. “But I have never seen anything like this in my life,” he told NOW, minutes after the Russian jets had bombed the outskirts of his town. “I don’t know what kind of missile this was, but the impact was huge, scary.”

The Russian jets showed up around noon on Thursday and the bomb hit an archeological Byzantine complex in the vicinity of Kafranbel. “It used to be a refugee camp until recently, but the Free Syrian Army brigades returned the civilians to their homes in the towns in the area so that the historical monuments wouldn’t be damaged,” he said.

Kafranbel is a small town in Syria’s Idlib Governorate. Before the war it was home to roughly 15,000 people, mostly Sunni Muslims. It was Syria’s largest producer of figs and a major producer of olives. It also sits on a dead Byzantine city and is surrounded by some of the famous Forgotten Cities, the 700 abandoned settlements in northwest Syria between Aleppo and Idlib that were abandoned between the 8th and 10th centuries. Serjilla, Shanshrah, and Al-Bara are close to modern-day Kafranbel. The Russians bombed Shanshrah, a UN World Heritage Site, twice on Thursday. [Continue reading…]

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