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Blaze engulfs shops in Syria's historic Old Damascus Open in fullscreen

The New Arab & agencies

Blaze engulfs shops in Syria's historic Old Damascus

Firefighters tried to douse the flames from within the souk's alleyways and from rooftops [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 April, 2016

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A fire engulfed dozens of shops in the Asruniyeh market of Old Damascus, adjacent to the famed al-Hamidiyeh souk in one of the world's oldest cities.
Syrian firefighters worked to contain a fire that engulfed dozens of shops in the Asruniyeh market of Old Damascus, a UNESCO world heritage site on Saturday.

The market is adjacent to the famed al-Hamidiyeh souk in one of the world's oldest cities.

"It began at 06:00 am in one shop in the centre of the neighbourhood and then spread to other shops," a senior civil defence member in the market told AFP.

The blaze was blamed on an electrical fault and at least 50 store fronts and warehouses were damaged.

Syria's economy has already been devastated by the five-year war, with its foreign reserves depleted and inflation soaring.

"Our livelihood has gone," said one shopkeeper after Saturday's blaze, his head in his hands. "This shop used to feed ten people who worked for me."

The owner of the shop where the fire started was taken to hospital with severe burns to his head and hand.

Firefighters tried to douse the flames from within the souk's alleyways and from rooftops.

Toy shop owner Mohammad Ashqar said he had restocked his store just two days before the fire.

"I haven't been able to go in yet to check on the shop," he said.

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