Hayat Tahrir al-Sham destroys antiquities In Syria’s Aleppo countryside

ALEPPO, Syria (North Press) – Local sources from the town of Darat Izza west Aleppo countryside, stated on Sunday that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), formerly (al-Nusra Front) destroyed some antiquities near the Cathedral of St. Simeon Stylite under the pretext of expanding a road.

St. Simeon Stylite in Mount Simeon, 30 kilo meter west Aleppo and about seven KM north west of Darat Izza, however the Stylite and the surrounding area has been under the control of the armed opposition groups since 2012.

After battles that took place between HTS and Nour al-Din Zanki movement, HTS took control over Simeon Stylite and its surroundings in addition to the western countryside of Aleppo.

“Expansion operations are taking place regarding a road and opening a crossing near the town of Ghazawiya in the western countryside of Afrin and on the outskirts of the Simeon Stylite, aiming to connect HTS-held areas with the Turkish-backed armed opposition-held areas in Afrin.

During the expansion operations, HTS destroyed a part of the archaeological legacy of the area by removing small churches scattered on the side of the road with heavy machinery and equipment.

These Stylite back to the first Byzantine period of the fifth and sixth centuries AD.

HTS removed them and moves their stones to other areas, since it intended to establish a square between Ghazawiya, Bosoufane and on the vicinity of Darat Izza in the western countryside of Aleppo for selling oil materials and trade between HTS-held areas and Turkish-held areas, according to the sources.

It’s noteworthy to mention that Turkish observatory posts are located near the crossing boarder, where the biggest Turkish military base in northern Syria is stationed near Ghazawiya.

(Reporting by Jan Hadad)