Media reports emerge that Syrian troops during their hunt for valuables desecrated Christian graves. The incident took place in Harasta, when the Syrian regime’s troops raided Christian graveyard, and started looting family tombs. Reports further revealed that the troops raided Christian graveyard for gold, jewellery , other valuables including gold teeth.
These graves were dug up during the time when the town was under the control of the regime forces. Church officials confirmed that the troops had dug up the graves during the same period when the regime was in control for around five years.
Harasta, was liberated by the Syrian opposition forces during the Battle of Harasta. The rebels after liberation revealed that the Syrian troops had plundered the graveyard in al-Ajami neighborhood. The graves were looted of all possessions buried alongside the dead.
The rebels found that the coffins were opened and there were no valuable items inside. It is customary for the Syrian Christian families to place valuables including gold and jewellery. The rebels alleged that the raiders had also pulled the gold teeth from the mouths of decomposed corpses. The bodies reportedly lay exposed in their open coffins.
In January, Syrian rebels gained control of the town, after which Harasta’s council reported the damage caused by the raiders. After 2011, rebellion majority of the Christian residents of Harasta left the town owing to clashes between rebels and regime forces. Previously there were around 35,000 Christians in the town, the numbers dropped.
Syria’s Christian community is believed to be one of the oldest in the world. Majority of the Syrian population hails from the Eastern denominations including the Greek Orthodox Church, Armenian Church, Syriac Orthodox Church etc. The oldest denomination in the country is the Greek Orthodox Church which is also the largest having 503,000 members, the number of members of the Armenian Apostolic Church range in between 112,000 and 160,000 and 89,000 members of the Syriac Orthodox Church.