Christians and Jews all over the world should be raising an outcry over the Butcher of Damascus’ attack on Aleppo. This city which is the largest in Syria has been the staging ground of historic religious events. It is a world heritage site and needs to be preserved rather than destroyed by a mindless dictator like Al Bashar.
It is one of the few world cities which have been inhabited for the last eight thousand years. The city has been ruled by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Mongols, Turks, French and the Alawite Assads. Each street and ancient home is a link to the world’s past. This region has given birth to so many religions. Three religions arise from the dusty lands that surround Aleppo- Judaism, Christianity and Islam. They have common prophets and messiahs. Yet they have had this historical sibling rivalry which has led to bloodshed in every street of Aleppo.
Aleppo is the famed city where Saint Simeon Stylites the Elder chose to live on a platform above a pillar for thirty seven years. A monument still exists around the site of the pillar. An imposing citadel sits on a mound right in the middle of the city.
Aleppo has been witness to the Crusades. The famous Aleppo Codex an ancient Hebrew Bible manuscript was stolen and taken to Egypt. It remained in safe custody in a Cairo Synagogue. The great Jewish Philosopher Maimonides consulted the Aleppo Codex while it was thus secure in Cairo. The Aleppo Codex returned to Aleppo in 1375 brought by a descendant of Maimonides.
Syria was home to the Aleppo Codex for five centuries before it was stolen by someone in the 1947 riots. President Itzhak Ben-Zvi of Israel received it as a gift from Murad Faham, a Syrian Jew. Certain parts had gone missing from the text and it is now in Jerusalem. Today it rests finally in the Israel Museum of Jerusalem at the Shrine of the Book.
Aleppo is not a stranger to war and deprivation. Timur the Lame killed all it residents and left his trademark of a mountain of skulls at the city doors. In ancient times the area near Aleppo was called Zobah. It is mentioned many times in the Old Testament. The city has been plundered so many times by neighboring Kings including Saul and David. Under the French Mandate after the First World War Aleppo was governed by the French till 1943 when Syria was split into Lebanon and Syria.
Today guns are blasting this ancient city, what will remain for posterity only God knows.
Send a prayer to God for the residents of Aleppo.