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Syrian Battle Edges Closer to Historic Crusader Castle
Reuters ^ | 1/29/14 | Reuters Staff

Posted on 01/30/2014 5:50:05 AM PST by marshmallow

President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have surrounded rebels near the already war-damaged Crusader castle of Crac des Chevaliers, a UNESCO World Heritage site in central Syria, residents said on Wednesday.

Crac des Chevaliers, built by the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem in the 12th-13th centuries and among the best-preserved examples of the Crusader castles, suffered mortar hits last year when rebels from the town of al-Hosn below the hill-top castle hid behind its thick stone walls, built for battles hundreds of years ago. The violence had died down until this week.

Syria’s nearly three-year-old conflict has devastated whole city neighborhoods and many ancient sites, including Aleppo’s medieval covered market and its Umayyad mosque. Looting has threatened tombs in the desert town of Palmyra and Roman temples have been damaged.

Crac des Chevaliers, perched on a mountain in central Homs province, was almost intact at the start of the Syrian war. It repelled waves of medieval offensives but has been no match for modern mortar and artillery.

On Tuesday, rocket, artillery and tank fire battered the town of al-Zara, not far from al-Hosn, a resident of al-Zara said, asking not to be named. Warplanes later bombed the area between al-Zara and al-Hosn, targeting rebels there, he said.

Although fighting has inched closer to Crac des Chevaliers, the castle has not been hit during the two-day-old offensive by troops and local pro-Assad militiamen besieging al-Hosn.

A fighter from the National Defence Forces, an Assad loyalist paramilitary group, said the offensive aimed to secure a gas pipeline which runs through al-Zara and which was attacked by rebels in December to disrupt supplies.

But others in the area linked the fighting to a dispute between villages in Homs, a religiously-mixed province where the increasingly sectarian conflict between Assad’s Alawite minority.........

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Current Events; History; Islam; Religion & Politics

1 posted on 01/30/2014 5:50:05 AM PST by marshmallow
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To: marshmallow

Crak can take it...

2 posted on 01/30/2014 6:29:57 AM PST by Little Ray (How did I end up in this hand-basket, and why is it getting so hot?)
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To: Little Ray

If it was just me then I would just gas it so that the structure is preserved.

3 posted on 01/30/2014 6:34:37 AM PST by Roger_Wildcat
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To: Roger_Wildcat

I like your plan.
Then carry the corpses out for the wild animals to eat.

4 posted on 01/30/2014 7:51:26 AM PST by Bigg Red (O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Ps 8)
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