Middle East

Oldest synagogue in Syria destroyed: report

BEIRUT: The world’s oldest synagogue has been destroyed by regime forces, according to a report published Wednesday in the Daily Beast, a leading American Internet news outlet. 

The report includes photographs from the Eliyahu Hanabi synagogue in Jobar, an eastern neighborhood of Damascus. 

The report says rebel-held Jobar has been under heavy bombardment for months by regime troops and that “Syrian Arab Army forces flattened” the site over the weekend, destroying thousands of irreplaceable Jewish artifacts. 

The report quotes Shlomo Bolts, from the pro-opposition Syrian American Council charity, as saying the site was a “treasure of Jewish and Syrian culture heritage.” 

The synagogue was originally built to honor the Prophet Elijah, and Jobar had a Jewish population through medieval times, the report added. 

A 2013 Israeli media report said the synagogue was largely intact, despite reports that it had been looted or destroyed. Bolts, a Syrian Jew, criticized President Bashar Assad’s regime for systematically destroying Muslim and Christian places of worship throughout the country. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 29, 2014, on page 8.




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