Minaret destroyed at 12th-century Syrian mosque on World Heritage list
April 25, 2013 -- Updated 1530 GMT (2330 HKT)
- The minaret is destroyed at the 12th-century Great Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo
- The mosque is on the United Nation's World Heritage List
- Opposition groups blame government forces for destroying the landmark
- The government blames a terror group linked to al Qaeda
(CNN) -- Both sides in Syria's civil war were in rare agreement Wednesday: The minaret at a 12th-century mosque in Aleppo has been obliterated.
Unclear, however, was who destroyed the tower at the Great Umayyad Mosque, which has witnessed the march of nine centuries. It was just last month that a United Nations official expressed concern about the two-year war possibly damaging the mosque, a World Heritage site.
An opposition group blamed the government.
"Regime forces have committed today a new crime against human and cultural heritage by targeting the minaret of the mosque and completely destroying it," the Local Coordination Committees said. The group released a photograph of the mosque without its signature minaret, apparently reduced to rubble.
Chemical weapons used in Syria?
Was Obama's 'red line' crossed in Syria?
Israel: Syria used chemical weapons
The Syrian Coalition also blamed President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
"Today, the Assad regime committed a new crime against history and civilization, as they destroy(ed) the minaret of the Great Mosque of Aleppo. The minaret was hit by tank shells and was shattered to the ground," the coalition said in a statement.
"The Assad regime has done all that they can to destroy the social fabric of Syria," it added.
The Syrian government, however, blamed one rebel group, Jabhet al-Nusra, for blowing up the minaret. The jihadist al-Nusra Front in Syria has been linked to al Qaeda in Iraq.
"Terrorists from Jabhet al-Nusra detonated explosives in one of the minarets" at the Great Umayyad Mosque, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported Wednesday. "An official source told SANA that terrorists placed highly explosive materials in the minaret and the mosque's southern door and set them off."
The agency also reported Wednesday that government forces launched special operations against "Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in the Aleppo countryside." An official source told the state-run agency that those maneuvers "resulted in destroying many of their dens and gatherings."
What is the Syrian Electronic Army?
2 kidnapped Syrian bishops remain missing
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
June 24, 2014 -- Updated 2133 GMT (0533 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1141 GMT (1941 HKT)
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 2117 GMT (0517 HKT)
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 2025 GMT (0425 HKT)
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
June 9, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
June 2, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
May 28, 2014 -- Updated 2119 GMT (0519 HKT)
What caught our experts' ears was as much about what he didn't address as much as what he did.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1019 GMT (1819 HKT)
The three-year war in Syria has claimed 162,402 lives, an opposition group said Monday, as the raging conflict shows no signs of abating.
May 31, 2014 -- Updated 0141 GMT (0941 HKT)
Official: The U.S. believes a jihadi featured in a suicide bombing video in Syria is Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha who grew up in Florida.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1437 GMT (2237 HKT)
For the first time, Britain has convicted someone of a terrorism offense related to the Syrian civil war.