Sunday 11 December 2016

The Situation in Qalaat al-Madiq

Qalaat al-Madiq is the modern town just west of the remains of the ancient city of Apamea, the area is currently on the borderland between the zone held by the Syrian regime and various rebel groups and control over the town is being contested between these two. In 2011 anti-government rebels gained control over much of the town, except the medieval fortress overlooking the town. In September 2011, the police were evicted from the town by the rebels there. Services are provided to Qalaat al-Madiq's residents by rebel groups in the town, the largest of which is Suqour al-Ghab faction which fights under the banner of the Free Syrian Army. In March 2012, the Syrian Army took over most of the town, but were unable to take full control of it. The rebels still hold some areas. 

By 2012, the fortress was under control of the Free Syrian Army, mostly composed of Syrian Sunni Muslims. As of early 2016, the al-Nusra Front controlled the fortress.

According to satellite images the extensive looting of the site began some time between 20th of July 2011 and 4th of April 2012 (Google Earth) as identified by Ignacio Arce, and described by Jesse Casana and Mitra Panahipour, ‘about two-thirds of Apamea was intensely looted‘ between those dates. As Emma Cunliffe observed, the site was extensively looted before the place was fortified in late 2012. 

[To be continued]

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