Skip to main content

Image Gallery: War is Damaging Syria's Historical Castles and Landmarks

Ancient city from space

Ancient Syria from space

(Image credit: Image ©2014, DigitalGlobe, NextView License|Analysis AAAS)

Buildings across Syria, including its World Heritage sites designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), have sustained extensive damage since the country's war began in 2011. A new satellite image analysis of before-and-after pictures show that five of Syria's six World Heritage "exhibit significant damage."Much of the damage has occurred in the ancient of Aleppo, outlined in the red boundary.

Syrian treasures

Syrian Map

(Image credit: AAAS)

Researchers from the nonpartisan American Association for the Advancement of Science looked at these Syrian World Heritage sites by using satellite images taken before and during the war.

Before the damage

Before the Syrian damage

(Image credit: Images ©2014, DigitalGlobe, NextView License|Analysis AAAS. Coordinates: 36.19N, 37.15E.)

This satellite image, taken Dec. 6, 2011, shows the Great Mosque of Aleppo, called the Souq al-Madina mosque, before it was damaged.

After heavy fighting

After heavy Syrian fighting

(Image credit: Images ©2014, DigitalGlobe, NextView License|Analysis AAAS. Coordinates: 36.19N, 37.15E.)

Taken only three years later on July 14, 2014, this satellite image shows the damage done to the Great Mosque of Aleppo. A minaret, a tall spire, is completely gone (red arrow), the roof is damaged (green arrow) and there are two craters on the eastern wall (blue arrows). The yellow arrows show damage on surrounding buildings.

Crumbling ruins

Crumbling Syrian ruins

(Image credit: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aleppo-Archaeology/459668177425042?fref=photo )

The Grand Serail in Aleppo, shown in a September 2014 photo. The Grand Serail is a government building that opened in 1933.

Roman theater

Syrian Roman theater

(Image credit: Images ©2014, DigitalGlobe, NextView License|Analysis AAAS. Coordinates: 32.51N, 36.48E.)

The Bosra Roman Theater, shown here on Feb. 23, 2011, a few weeks before the Syrian war began.

Visible damage

Syrian Roman theater damage

(Image credit: Images ©2014, DigitalGlobe, NextView License|Analysis AAAS. Coordinates: 32.51N, 36.48E.)

This April 29, 2014 satellite image shows new earthen ramps and berms near the Roman theater's east entrance, and a small hill on the west that is partially excavated (arrows).

Before and after

Syria before and after

(Image credit: Credit: Images ©2014, DigitalGlobe|Analysis AAAS.Coordinates 36.19N, 37.16E.)

Palmyra's North Roman Necropolis was disrupted by roadwork and earthen berms (pink arrows) that protected military vehicles. The destruction happened between October 2009 and March 2014.

Crac des Chevaliers

Crac des Chevaliers

(Image credit: Image ©2014, DigitalGlobe, NextView License|Analysis AAAS. Coordinates: 34.75N, 36.29E.)

This Dec. 3, 2008 image shows the Crac des Chevaliers, a castle and World Heritage site that showcases crusader architecture. It was built by the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem from 1142 to 1271, with additions by the Mamluks in the late 13th century, according to UNESCO.

Damaged castle

Damaged Syrian castle

(Image credit: Image ©2014, DigitalGlobe, NextView License|Analysis AAAS. Coordinates: 34.75N, 36.29E.)

A satellite captured this image on Oct. 26, 2013, showing that the castle has structural damage and several craters (yellow arrows). The roof of the south turret is also damaged.