(JNS.org) The ancient Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue near Damascus has been left in ruins by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, according to Syrian rebel forces and new photographs of the site.
Rebel leaders claim that Syrian government forces—who have bombarded the area for months—are to blame for the destruction, the Daily Beast reported. Thousands of irreplaceable Jewish artifacts inside the synagogue may have been damaged or destroyed.
The 400-year-old synagogue was previously damaged in 2013 amid fighting between the government and rebel groups. But later photographs indicated that the synagogue only sustained minor damage and that the Jewish artifacts were secure.
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the destruction of Jobar Synagogue, which was a treasure of Jewish and Syrian cultural heritage,” Shlomo Bolts, a Jewish official at the Syrian American Council, told the Daily Beast.
Tradition holds that the ancient synagogue is built on the site where the prophet Elijah hid himself in a cave to avoid arrest.