Alongside the humanitarian catastrophe created by Syria’s civil war, the conflict has resulted in the destruction of many priceless pieces of Islamic history.
This week the shrine of 7th Century Muslim military commander Khalid bin Walid became the latest piece of Syria’s Islamic heritage to be destroyed:
Shelling destroyed the centuries-old mausoleum of a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the central city of Homs on Monday, a monitoring group and activists said.
Reports of the destruction of the Muslim pilgrimage site emerged as an intense army campaign to reclaim rebel-held areas of Homs, a strategic junction city, entered its fourth week.
“Activists from the Khaldiyeh neighbourhood in the city of Homs have reported the destruction by army shelling of the mausoleum of the prophet’s companion Khaled bin Walid,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Housed in the rebel area of Khaldiyeh, the Khaled bin Walid mosque had already suffered significant damage during earlier fighting for control of the city.
Amateur video distributed by activists showed the mosque, renowned for its two towering minarets, and images of what was identified as the destroyed mausoleum.
“The Khaled bin Walid mosque was shelled, and the shrine was completely destroyed,” said the unnamed activist filming the footage.