Reported by SOHR a few years ago | Disagreements among al-Rahman Corps’ members uncover thefts of valuable relics from Syria’s Jobar
Turkish authorities confiscate rare editions of Torah and ancient scrolls smuggled from Syria to Turkey
The case of stealing relics in Jobar neighbourhood in Syria’s capital, Damascus, by members of al-Rahman faction topped the events once again, after the Turkish authorities had arrested a man in the Turkish state of Mardin with five gold-sequined copies of Torah in his possession, as these copies had been smuggled to Turkey.
In this context, Reliable SOHR sources have confirmed that the copies of Torah confiscated by the Turkish authorities had been stolen by al-Rahman Corps which had operated in eastern Ghouta and Jobar neighbourhood, before it moved to Afrin in north-western Aleppo. According to SOHR sources, the five copies had reached to the leader of al-Rahman Corps, “Abdulnaser Shmair”. However, considerable agreements erupted in the recent time, after dignitaries and military commanders from Jobar neighbourhood, who have been displaced to Afrin, demanded the handing over of these copies of Torah and some ancient scrolls stolen by al-Rahman Corps from the Synagogue in Jobar neighbourhood, when it was under the faction’s control.
It is worth noting that the disagreements were renewed, as al-Rahman Corps’ leader repeatedly denied that he had these scrolls and relics and claimed that he left them in eastern Ghouta before leaving to Afrin in north Syria region, after regime forces captured eastern Ghouta in March 2018. The disagreements, which started earlier, ignited even more following the arrival of the evacuated factions and regime oppositionists in north Syria region.
In October 2019, Turkish security service arrested several people with a rare sets of Torah in Bolu city in north-west Turkey. While two other Torah scrolls written on gazelle leather adorned with gold, emeralds and rubies were confiscated in Bilecik state in north-western Turkey in 2018. According very reliable SOHR sources, all the scrolls confiscated by the Turkish authorities had been stolen by al-Rahman Corps that attempted to smuggle them to Turkey and sell them, as the number of Torah scrolls stolen from the Synagogue in Jobar neighbourhood were the same of the scrolls confiscated by the Turkish government. Moreover, there are other precious relics still in the faction’s possession.
On May 8, 2018, SOHR sources reported disagreements between al-Rahman Corps and the Local Council of Jobar neighbourhood over the possession of ancient scrolls and relics which were in the custody of leadership of al-Rahman Corps in Jobar neighborhood. SOHR sources reported “before the evacuation of al-Rahman Corps, the Local Council of Jobar neighbourhood entrusted the faction with protecting Jewish scrolls and relics which had been in the synagogue the neighbourhood of Jobar in the eastern part of the capital, Damascus. When the faction was evacuated from the region in late March 2018, al-Rahman Corps transferred these relics and scrolls to north Syria. However, the faction denied having the objects it had been entrusted with protecting them, when the Council asked the leadership of the faction to hand them over, which created considerable tension between the two sides.
Moreover, Observatory sources also monitored several meetings between the two sides with the aim to reach a solution. Al-Rahman Corps insisted on denying having the relics and scrolls, which spurred the Council and some fighters from Jobar neighbourhood, who operated under the banner of the factions, to accuse al-Rahman Corps and its leader Abdunnasir Shamir of “stealing the scrolls and relics that were in the synagogue”. Accordingly, the tension between both side escalated even more, as reliable SOHR sources confirmed that the stolen relics were very precious.