The Directorate-General of the Syrian Department of Antiquities denounced, in an official note, the destruction of important Christian archaeological sites caused by air raids carried out by the Turkish military airforce in the Afrin area, in north-eastern Syria.
Ever since the month of January 2018, Turkey has been conducting a murderous operation in Syria to route the Kurdish militia, the People’s Protection Unit, that it considers as terrorists. Turkey has been in control of Afrin region since March 18.
In Trabzon on March 25, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish head of State, stated that he plans to extend the operation towards the east, and maybe even into Iraq.
A few days earlier, on March 22, 2018, Mahmud Hamoud, director of the Syrian Department of Antiquities, denounced the destruction of buildings that are some of the most ancient remains of Christianity: “The Turkish aircraft bombed the archaeological site of Barad, 15 kilometers south of the city of Afrin."
The archaeological area of Barad includes the remains of many Byzantine churches and monasteries and tombs dating back to the early centuries of Christianity, and since 2011 had been included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
According to Mahmoud Hamoud, the bombing also devastated the so-called "tomb of San Marone", the site where the saint’s body was initially buried before being moved elsewhere, and the remains of the cathedral of San Giuliano, built at the end of the fourth century.
In February of 2018, the Catholic Synod of Aleppo appealed to Pope Francis to denounce the Turkish-Ottoman attack:
Yesterday their goal was to eliminate the Armenians; today it is the Christians, the Kurds, and the Arabs that they want to eliminate in order to take control of our Holy Land.