An unspecified number of civilians were wounded in an alleged Russian or Assad regime airstrike on an ancient museum in Ma’arat al-Nu’man, local media reported.
According to Enabbaladi, “an air strike carried out by a military aircraft belonging to the Assad forces yesterday, Tuesday, January 2, targeted the archaeological museum in the city of Ma’arat al-Nu’man in the province of Idlib, northwest Syria, which led to the destruction of the archaeological construction.
“The Idlib Media Center said that the air strike destroyed large parts of the museum, in addition to the destruction of a large number of mosaics, as well as dozens of artifacts buried with the rubble.”
RFS reported: “The warplanes bombed the city of Ma’arat al-Nu’man with more than nine air raids, five of which were yesterday morning [Jan 2nd] and 4 am, and there were four raids after midnight, during which the National Museum or the Khan Murad Pasha was targeted. The museum dates back to the Ottoman era. The Awis al-Qarni Mosque and other residential neighborhoods were also hit, resulting in the injury of a number of civilians injured.”
Alaraby quoted Mustafa Abu Mahmoud, a member of the local council, who said: “The bombing caused great damage to the western and northern wings of the museum, which include the artefacts that were transferred there because of previous shelling.”
Mustafa Abu Mahmoud added that “the roof of the Archaeological Museum was hit by a missile, which made a large hole in it.” He also noted that “the museum is protected by the Free Army factions in the city, to prevent thefts or sabotage to artefacts that date back thousands of years.
“The mosaic paintings, which are famous for the museum, have been badly damaged and were not protected by the sandbags that were put in place to protect them,” he said.
The museum dated back nearly 500 years to the Ottoman rule of Syria, and was reportedly housed the largest collection of mosaics in the Middle East.
The local time of the incident is unknown.