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Historical minaret in Aleppo is latest casualty in Syrian conflict

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Historical minaret in Aleppo is latest casualty in Syrian conflict

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The fighting in Syria is taking a toll on the country’s cultural sites. UN cultural agency UNESCO says five out of Syria’s six World Heritage sites have been damaged.

The latest devastation happened to the 11th-century minaret of the Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo – the scene of heavy fighting since last July.

Syrian state television is blaming rebels from the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra, claiming the minaret was blown up.

The rebel Free Syria Army says the minaret was destroyed by an army tank shell.

The opposition have lost control of Otaiba – a strategic town to the east of Damascus. Government forces have pushed the rebels out, breaking a key supply route for weapons.

Opposition fighters there say they called on rebels in neighbouring areas, but no help came – an indication of how divisions within the opposition are hampering efforts on the ground.