The thousand-year-old minaret of Aleppo's Umayyad Mosque has collapsed due to
clashes between Syrian rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al Assad.
Syria's civil war has cost more than 70,000 lives and has damaged or destroyed many archaeological and architectural treasures, some of them UN world heritage sites. These include Aleppo's Old City, where the mosque is located.
The opposing parties blamed each other for the destruction of the minaret, which predated the medieval-era mosque it stood in. Fighting has ravaged the Old City's stone-vaulted alleyways and reduced much of the mosque to rubble.
Meanwhile, Islamist rebel units said yesterday they had launched an offensive on the coastal province of Latakia, which could further stoke sectarian tensions.
The coast is a stronghold of Mr Assad's minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.
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