Iran-backed militants 'exhume' grave of Caliph Umar II

Iran-backed militants 'exhume' the grave of Caliph Umar II in Idlib
2 min read
28 May, 2020
In February, pro-regime forces in Idlib reportedly set fire to the tomb after capturing the town of Maaret al-Numan from opposition hands.
The tomb is located in village of Deir Al-Sharqi near Maaret al-Numan [Getty]
Iran-backed militants fighting alongside the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have desecrated a tomb in the war-ravaged province of Idlib where the remains of the Umayyad caliph Umar II are believed to be buried, taking the contents to an unknown location, Aljazeera reported on Wednesday.

Video footage from inside the historic compound in the village of Deir Al-Sharqi near the town of Maaret al-Numan have emerged on social media.

Amid scenes of destruction and decay, the footage purports to show the graves of Umar II, and those of wife and servant, exhumed.

There is no information on the whereabouts of the contents, local media report.

In February, pro-regime forces set fire to the tomb complex after capturing Maaret al-Numan from opposition hands. Local activists said that the grave of both Umar II's wife and his servant were damaged in that fire.  

Umar II’s ancestry links him to the companion of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, Umar bin Al-Khattab.

Umar II is revered in Islamic history as a ruler who upheld principles of justice during his short reign of two years and five months, earning the title of the "fifth rightly-guided Caliph".

This is not the first time forces loyal to Assad have reportedly dug up graves in areas under their control, with videos surfacing in February showing the desecration of the graves of numerous rebel fighters and commanders.

In January 2015, government forces exhumed graves and stole dozens of corpses in the city of Old Homs, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.

Read more: WATCH: Pro-Assad forces caught 'desecrating graves and exhuming corpses' in Idlib

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