ALEPPO, Syria, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Amid the ruins in the old city of Aleppo, energetic construction workers are building and fixing the famous walled ancient marketplace, hoping to restore business life in the area to its former glory.
During Syria's protracted war, many sections of the al-Madina Souq, the world's largest covered historic market, were destroyed, either ruined or burnt.
The reconstruction of the ancient market started in late 2018, about two years after the government regained control of the eastern part of Aleppo city.
As in any other place in Aleppo, the workers and engineers have shown admirable determination and precision when carrying out such delicate work, as rehabilitating historic sites requires high skills, patience and thoroughness.
Loulwa Kharboutly, an engineer, told Xinhua that they are restoring the souk not only to their pre-war status but to their original real look which had been changed in the course of time.
"Tremendous work is being done, and may God help everyone to rebuild and revive the old Aleppo and keep it on the world heritage list," she said.
However, the reconstruction work of the old market is facing many challenges, mainly from the U.S. and Western sanctions which forbid foreign companies to do business in Syria or even take part in its reconstruction.
"We are facing a lot of difficulties such as the embargo. The sanctions imposed on Syria are making it hard for us to secure the raw materials," Kharboutly told Xinhua.
Because of the sanctions and the resulting limited capacity, the work is being carried out only in the least damaged areas, she said.
"Faster restoration means faster return of shop owners. The main goal is to bring life back to these souks, so we have to attract people before fixing all the areas," the Syrian engineer noted. ■