A historical mosque and covered market in Syria’s northern city of Al-Bab -- liberated from the Daesh terrorist group last year by Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield -- are now being restored with Ankara’s help.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Sunday, Mahmoud Akil Abu Salah, a local official responsible for religious affairs, provided a brief history of the ancient city.
According to Abu Salah, Al-Bab was conquered by the Muslim armies during the reign of Caliph Umar bin al-Khattab (634-644).
The city’s Grand Mosque (Al-Masjid al-Kabir) was built in 717.
Al-Bab, Abu Salah explained, boasts 60 other historical mosques, 40 of which have already been renovated with the help of Turkey’s Diyanet Foundation.
“The Grand Mosque was damaged in recent clashes with the Daesh terrorist group,” he said.
“God willing, we will see the mosque’s full grandeur once the restoration works are completed,” he added, going on to note that the renovations were expected to last about one year.
Fayad Aslan, an officer at the Turkish company carrying out the renovations, said that all repairs were being conducted with a view to preserving the mosque’s original design and appearance.
“Each block of stone of the mosque’s minaret will be catalogued before being removed,” he said. “Once they are repaired, they will be put back in the exact same position.”
Turkey’s Diyanet Foundation is also in the process of restoring Al-Bab’s centuries-old covered market.
According to Turkish engineering specialist Mahmut Faris, restoration of the market is being carried out without harming its original structure.
Turkish stonemason Haci Ahmet Davil, who is taking part in the restoration works, said that 80 meters of the market’s roof had already been repaired.
Abu Abdo, an Al-Bab resident who owns a shop in the covered market, said recent weather conditions had hurt local commerce.
He expressed hope that the renovations would provide a “more suitable environment” in which to conduct business.
In February of last year, Turkish troops and the Free Syrian Army liberated Al-Bab from the Daesh terrorist group as part of Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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