UNESCO: 30 percent of Aleppo’s ancient city destroyed

Smoke rises after rebel fighters launch a mortar shell on a residential neighborhood in western Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. The government seized large swaths of the Aleppo enclave under rebel control since 2012 in the offensive that began last week. The fighting was most intense Monday near the dividing line between east and west Aleppo as government and allied troops push their way from the eastern flank, reaching within less than a kilometer, about half a mile, from the citadel that anchors the center of the city. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

PARIS (AP) — UNESCO says about a third of the ancient city of Aleppo has been destroyed during the war in Syria.

The United Nations cultural organization conducted an emergency mission in Aleppo from between Monday and Thursday this week to assess damage at the World Heritage Site and reported “extensive damage” at the Great Umayyad Mosque, the Citadel and other historic buildings.

UNESCO said in a statement that “60 percent of the old city of Aleppo has been severely damaged, with 30 percent totally destroyed.”

UNESCO envoys also met with Aleppo council members and non-governmental organizations and proposed that the ancient city should be declared an “emergency zone.”

Pro-government forces recaptured Aleppo in December, ending rebels’ four-year hold on parts of Syria’s once largest and most important city.

This photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Civil Defense workers and Syrian citizens inspecting damaged buildings after airstrikes hit in Darat Izza town, in rural western Aleppo province, Syria, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. Despite a halt in airstrikes in eastern Aleppo city, there has been an intense aerial bombing campaign in the western Aleppo countryside and nearby Idlib province. Rebels say the strikes are an attempt to sever the supply lines of the rebels, waging an offensive on government-held western Aleppo. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)
This photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Civil Defense workers and Syrian citizens inspecting damaged buildings after airstrikes hit in Darat Izza town, in rural western Aleppo province, Syria, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. Despite a halt in airstrikes in eastern Aleppo city, there has been an intense aerial bombing campaign in the western Aleppo countryside and nearby Idlib province. Rebels say the strikes are an attempt to sever the supply lines of the rebels, waging an offensive on government-held western Aleppo. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

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