While most of the old cities of the Middle East retain their souqs, Aleppo's, situated along the old silk road that terminated at nearby Antioch, was extraordinary. Cairo's lost their roofing in Napoleon's and Muhammad ‘Ali's day. In the Gulf, shopping malls have replaced the old souqs, or the old souqs have come to look like shopping malls. Damascus' Hamadiyya souq and the old markets of both halves of Fez are extraordinary, but Aleppo's souq was still unique. Other coverage of the tragedy here at Josh Landis' site, here, and here.
The fact that the fires broke out during the rebel "final offensive" to take Aleppo means the regime will of course blame the rebels, perhaps justifiably. But whoever lit the fires, the result is the same. Tamerlane himself might be impressed with the results.
|Souq Entrance Before ...|
|... And After|