Ongoing sabotage of Syria’s civilisational heritage | Turkish-backed factions continue excavating archaeological hills in Afrin • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Ongoing sabotage of Syria’s civilisational heritage | Turkish-backed factions continue excavating archaeological hills in Afrin

Aleppo province: As Turkish-backed factions continue their violations to Syria’s civilisational heritage by excavating and sabotaging archaeological sites, searching for buried artifacts and antiques, SOHR sources have reported that factions of the Turkish-backed “National Army” started excavation and digging work in Qurtubah hill in in northern Afrin, using heavy diggers and earth-moving machineries.

 

It is worth noting that this site is registered at the Syrian Ministry of Culture and General Administration of Antiques and Syrian museums based on Article no. 244, in 1981.

 

Like many other archaeological hills in Afrin city and countryside, the hill had witnessed earlier excavated work for several times in the past years, as it has been leveled completely, while surrounding farmlands have been damaged.

 

On January 19, SOHR sources reported that “National Army” factions brought in heavy machinery and bulldozers to search for relics, treasures and antiquities in a new archaeological site known as “Bir Al-Jouz” (Al-Jouz Well).

 

Turkish-backed “National Army,” started to dig and destroy the archaeological site of Bir Al-Jouz, which is located to the west of Barmajah village and next to the temple road between the district centre and Barmajah in Maabatli district.

 

The site was nearly five metres high from its surroundings, and it was planted with olive trees dating back to different periods of time. However. It has been subjected to excavation and digging work by Turkish forces and factions loyal to them at the end of 2019. The faction had uprooted many olive trees and destroyed farmlands.

 

While on January 16, SOHR activists reported that Turkish-backed factions of “National Army” destroyed the remainder of Ain Diba hill which is located five kilometres to the north western of Afrin city.

 

Ain Diba hill is registered at the Syrian Ministry of Culture and General Administration of Antiques and Syrian museums based on Article no. 244, in 1981.

 

It is worth noting that the hill was destroyed by heavy machinery and bulldozers of the “National Army”, where most of the slope of Acropolis “the high city” was destroyed in addition to destruction of archaeological layers, in order to loot antiques and archaeological discoveries during the past three years.

 

The destroyed area is estimated to be 6,000 meters square.

 

On January 13, SOHR activists reported that members of the “National Army” removed the remainders of Tel Mirsawa hill by heavy machinery, searching for antiques.

 

The hill is located western to Mirsawa village and 35 kilometres north to Afrin city, near the Syrian-Turkish borders.

 

It is worth noting that the hill was subjected to drilling operations with heavy machineries and bulldozers, after the Turkish factions and their proxies took control over Afrin city in 2018, where the hill was completely destroyed by ongoing drilling operations in addition to destruction of surrounding agricultural lands, sources estimated the area that was destroyed was nearly 3500 meter square.

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