Syria is one large museum, defenseless against bombs—orientalists warn

Moscow, September 4, 2013

Damascus. Photo:
Damascus. Photo:
In the event of military aggression by the USA against Syria, not only will people inevitably suffer there, but also great cultural treasures: "a huge number of monuments—architectural, literary and artistic". This opinion was expressed to ITAR-TASS by Boris Dolgov, a senior research worker of the Center for Arab and Islamic Research of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

"Syria is an open-air museum,” stressed Dolgov, “a museum not only of Arab civilization, but also of Greco-Roman and Ottoman civilizations".

The expert noted that the Syrian people consider that their capital, Damascus, the most ancient city in the world, and that it is over 5000 years old. "According to historical sources, Damascus is in fact over 3000 years old and definitely one of the most ancient cities in the world,” specified the scholar. “Damascus itself is an architectural, historical and archaeological monument. The whole of old Damascus is a museum-city".

As Boris Dolgov stated, the oldest Christian churches of the Middle East are in Damascus. "There are churches there which are associated with works of Apostle Paul and are intertwined with Biblical legends. There is the street along which the apostles walked—the "Straight street". This is a part of the heritage of all mankind," stressed the researcher.

Of the Muslim monuments of Damascus he gave special attention to the Umayyad Mosque, which holds the tomb of Saladin. According to one historical version, the head of St. John the Baptist is kept in the same Mosque. "And, according to (Muslim) tradition, the Second Coming of Christ is to take place in one of the minarets,” noted Dolgov. “Mount Qasioun is situated in Damascus where there are places associated with the names of Cain and Abel, the grave of Abel". He also noted that are many such museum-cities, in Syria: Aleppo, where monasteries and castles of the period of the Crusades are situated, as well as Homs, Hamah, and Latakia.

"And now we see a clear intention of military aggression against Syria. Apart from the human victims, other destruction there is inevitable,” stressed Dolgov. “This has already happened in Iraq, where military aggression resulted in destruction of a huge number of monuments. Apart from bombings there were great many cases of vandalism and looting. The same things await Syria. It is absolutely right that the world community is striving to stop this aggression at all costs. It is necessary to do all that can be done in order to prevent rocket attacks and military intervention".

5 сентября 2013 г.

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