The blast at the Carlton Citadel Hotel, near the city’s medieval citadel, is believed to have been caused by a bomb placed beneath the hotel by what the state news agency Sana called “terrorists” who blew up tunnels they dug under the city’s archaeological sites in Aleppo’s Old City area.
The hotel has been a base of operations for government troops. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 14 people were killed.
The hotel is part of a 150-year-old building facing the 13th century citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Preliminary reports said “huge damage” was sustained in the area. The Observatory said the remote detonation of underground explosives destroyed the hotel and collapsed several nearby buildings.
The incident suggests that the government's claims of winning the civil war against rebels seeking the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad are overly optimistic. Government forces have maintained control of most of the city of Damascus and assumed control Wednesday of the central portion of Homs, but in northern Syria, including Aleppo, the military stalemate continues.