Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Syria’s Strategic Castles

Monday, May 06, 2013

(Bernard Gagnon)BEIRUT, LEBANON—Syria’s medieval castles and forts are situated in areas that are still strategically important. The citadel of Aleppo, a World Heritage Site, protects government forces as they shell opposition fighters, dividing the city in half. Reports also indicate that the south wall of the crusader castle Crak des Chevaliers has been nearly destroyed by modern weapons. It protects the route between the coast and the Orontes River Valley. “All the kingdoms of settled Syria wanted to control the famous route that is known as the Homs gap,” said Helen Sader of the American University in Beirut. Activists say that the third-century al-Madiq citadel in Hama has been used by government forces to shell villages to the north. “This is the importance of Syria. And this is what made it so attractive to so many powers—and it still is. We just hope that this will end very soon, before they destroy everything,” she added.