Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Odilia
Ain Dara Temple wall on April 4, 2005, with a view of decorations of the outer wall of the temple, and the entrance to the temple to the right

The ancient Ain Dara Hittite temple complex, at least 3,000 years old, was bombed into rubble this weekend by Turkish fighter pilots in an operation that appears to have rivaled the destruction of Palmyra by the Islamic State terrorist barbarians.

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The above video was provided via Hawarnews.

The long-preserved archaeological site built in the year 1300 BCE located in the Afrin region of northern Syria, was destroyed Friday by air strikes carried out by the Turkish military. The ancient temple, discovered in 1982, is located near a site included on the UNESCO World Heritage List as the “Ancient Villages of Northern Syria.” The group of 40 villages date from the first to seventh centuries CE and according to the UNESCO website, “feature a remarkably well-preserved landscape and the architectural remains of dwellings, pagan temples, churches, cisterns, bath houses.”

Syria’s Antiquities and Museums Department on Sunday condemned the Turkish attacks that targeted archeological sites in the Kurdish-held Afrin region, according to state news agency SANA, calling it an attack on “one of the most important monuments built by the Arameans in Syria during the first millennium BCE.”

The Ain Dara temple was characterized by its rare basalt stone artifacts discovered in 1982 by a national mission. The Iron Age Syrian-Hittite temple built in three phases over the course of 550 years (1300-740 B.C).

It’s not clear why the site – where archaeologists have carried out salvage excavations and other archaeological investigations — was targeted; no one lives in the area.

On Saturday, Turkey called on Washington to immediately remove its troops from the Syrian town of Manbij, where Turkish forces next planned to attack. Erdogan’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Kalin told Reuters the U.S. said it would no longer provide weapons to the Kurdish YPG militia. “It was agreed that close coordination would be carried out in order to avoid misunderstandings,” Kalin said.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Sunday that Turkey will clear its entire border with Syria of what he referred to as “terrorists.” Speaking at a congress of his ruling Justice and Development party (AK party), Erdogan said Turkey would make sure the Syrian refugees currently hosted in his country can return home once the border is cleared, according to international wire services.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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