DAMASCUS, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ordered Monday the formation of a committee tasked with repairing the 1,300-years-old Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo, the state TV said.
The presidential decree sets December. 31, 2013 as the final date for the completion of the restoration process. The Syrian troops regained control of the time-honored mosque on Sunday after the rebels had held it for 24 hours.
The western part of the 8,000-square-meter mosque has been severely damaged due to the clashes that have taken place inside it.
Aleppo, Syria's largest city and commercial hub, has been a main battleground between the Syrian forces and the armed rebels over the past three months.
The clashes have battered the ancient monuments, which have been declared as world heritage by the UNESCO.