Theft and shelling have damaged a 2,000 year-old synagogue in Damascus, one of the oldest in the world, Syrian government and opposition activist sources said on Monday.
Syria’s historic monuments have increasingly become a casualty of the civil war has killed more than 70,000 people. Parts of Aleppo’s medieval stone-vaulted souk have been reduced to rubble, and many ancient markets, mosques and churches across the country are threatened with destruction.
The damage has so far been light at the Jobar Synagogue, built in honour of the biblical prophet Elijah, according to Mamoun Abdulkarim, the head of Syria’s antiquities department.
Officials can’t confirm what has been taken from the Jobar Synagogue at this time, but they did confirm that rebel fighters used the structure as a base of operations for an undisclosed period of time four months ago. The Syrian government has also shelled the area extensively since war broke out in the country two years ago, but only 6 mortar rounds are reported to have struck the synagogue.