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Civilians allowed to return to Aleppo's citadel

Reporter: Zheng Yibing 丨 CCTV.com

12-18-2016 19:15 BJT

Syrian government officials have granted some civilians access to Aleppo's historic citadel, thought to be one of the world's oldest and largest castles. But there have been mixed feelings among locals who have returned and seen so much of it in ruins.

This is Aleppo's historic citadel, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Pro-Assad forces defended it during the civil war, but many of the buildings here have been badly damaged.

Photographs are now the only reminders of the building's former glory.

Some of the locals who returned here were emotional when they saw the extent of the damage.

"I was afraid to come, but others encouraged me and brought me here. I did not find anything," said Mariana Al-Hanash.

"They have damaged our childhood memories. We used to come and play football here when we were kids. Here there was a mosque, they destroyed that. They haven't left anything," said Abdul Salam Berry.

Restoring full control over Aleppo is regarded as critical in the multi-sided civil war which is now in its sixth year.

Insurgents agreed to surrender what remained of their besieged enclave in Aleppo and evacuate after fierce clashes with government forces.

But what the war has meant to civilians and the country's historic relics is difficult to describe.

The Syrian Government says it is now assessing the damage to the citadel, and has pledged to repair it.

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