Syria has been in religious unrest since 2011, and militants are continuing to destroy religious sites. The latest attack has been on ancient Jewish mausoleums that are located just north of Syria, in Aleppo. The attack occurred on Tuesday, September 24.
Members of al-Nusra, a group affiliated with al-Qaeda, have taken responsibility for other attacks that have occurred near Damascus. Those were on Christian sites located in Ma’loula, a popular town for Christian pilgrims and also home to one of Syria’s oldest monasteries. It’s an important area to Orthodox Christians as it contains ancient artifacts as well as Aramaic speakers, a language believed to be spoken by Jesus during biblical times. Many of the militants in Ma’loula, however, are reportedly foreigners to Syria.
During previous attacks, the militant forces burnt churches, including three in Ma’loula. Aleppo’s historical ties to the Jewish religion stretch to the belief that the Old Testament was first copied there. Syrian security forces eventually were able to repel the Al-Qaeda-linked militant forces.
Described as “one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history,” protests for reform began in March 2011, but turned into a tremendous insurgency.