Syrian rebels blow up historic Aleppo hotel used by Assad forces

May 8, 2014 | By | Reply More

May 08, – Syrian rebels blew up a luxury hotel-turned-army-base in the historic heart of Aleppo after tunnelling under the front line that divides the northern city. State television gave no word on any casualties from the attack that levelled the famed Carlton Citadel Hotel just across the road from the city’s UNESCO-listed Citadel.

hromedia Syrian rebels blow up historic Aleppo hotel used by Assad forces arab uprising2But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were dead and wounded among government troops occupying the building.

“The explosion that was heard in Aleppo’s Old City was caused by explosives planted by Islamist battalions in a tunnel beneath the Carlton hotel, which was occupied by regime troops,” the Britain-based monitoring group said.

State television said the hotel, which opened not long before the uprising erupted in March 2011 in a renovated 19th century hospital building, was completely flattened.

“Terrorists targeted the historic Carlton hotel in the Old City with a big explosion, destroying it completely and destroying several historic buildings nearby,” the broadcaster said.

It was not the first time that rebel sappers had tried to blow up the hotel, whose location and ultra-modern facilities made it one of the city’s most sought-after before the war.

They carried out a similar attempt in February but the building escaped major damage.

A rebel offensive in July 2012, in which they seized large swathes of Aleppo, left the historic Citadel and nearby hotels, which had once thronged with foreign tourists, on the front line of the deadly conflict.

Syrian forces say they will take full control over Homs, a city once associated with scenes of joyous pro-democracy crowds but now famed for images of ruin that epitomise the brutality of Syria’s civil war.

After holding the Old City of Homs for nearly two years, more than 900 rebel fighters, some limping their way onto buses, made their way out of the “capital of the revolution” in several convoys on Wednesday.

They were driven to rebel-held territory outside the city under a deal agreed between the insurgents and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

Homs provincial governor Talal Barazi told state media 80 per cent of the fighters had left and the rest would be evacuated after which the centre of Homs would be “declared a secure city” and reconstruction would commence.

Rebels smiled for cameras as they left but the fall of Syria’s third largest city to government forces is a major blow to the opposition and a boon for Mr Assad weeks before his likely re-election.

When thousands of Syrians took to the streets of Homs in 2011, it electrified the nation and anti-Assad demonstrations erupted in every major city.

Government forces cracked down on the religiously mixed city with batons and live ammunition.

Mortar bombs were fired on protests in Homs and the revolution became armed.

Rebel groups spread through the city as civilians fled or cowered in the basements of battered buildings.

A year ago, government forces laid siege to the Old City and residents said they starved.

State television has broadcast footage of a reporter, without body-amour, standing in the rain in the deserted centre of Homs interviewing Mr Barazi, who said the remaining fighters were due to be evacuated.

Behind them, not one building had been spared by the bullets, mortars and bombs of nearly three years of fighting. Some were completely levelled.

More than 150,000 people have died in the conflict. Millions more have fled their homes and fighting regularly kills more than 200 people a day.


Press journalist for HRO media – Khizer Hayat contributed to this report.

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Category: Arab uprising

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