Damascus: Militias fighting alongside the Syrian regime of President Bashar Al-Assad opened, burnt, and disappeared the grave of the eighth Umayyad Caliph Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz located in the north-west province of Idlib this week. His body has been taken to an unknown place.
Video footage of the destruction emerged on social media showing the graves of the Caliph, his wife, and his servant damaged and with the bodies exhumed and disappeared.
The graves located in the village of Deir Al-Sharqi in the area of Maarat Al-Nu’man are seen to be burnt following its capture by the regime and militia forces in February this year.
No information on the location of the Caliph’s remains has been revealed yet, as per the Turkish news organization Daily Sabah. Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz, who was a descendent of the companion of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and second Caliph Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, is highly respected in the Muslim world as a ruler who enforced justice throughout his short reign of two years and five months in the 8th century.
Fifth rightly-guided Caliph
His reputation, especially notable amid the Umayyad dynasty which many have seen as largely corrupt and decadent, earned him the title of “the fifth rightly-guided Caliph”.
The Umayyads were the first Muslim dynasty, established in 661 in Damascus. Their dynasty succeeded in the leadership of the first four caliphs—Abū Bakr, ʿUmar I, ʿUthmān, and ʿAlī. It was established by Muʿāwiyah ibn Abī Sufyān, a native of Mecca and a contemporary of the Prophet Muḥammad.
Assad regime loyalists have been exhuming graves after conquering territories.
Soldiers play with skulls
In February, videos surfaced showing regime forces and militias desecrating graves of numerous opposition fighters and commanders buried in Sunni areas, with other videos showing Syrian soldiers playing with the skulls of exhumed bodies. Similar scenes were also reportedly witnessed back in 2015 when regime forces exhumed dozens of graves in Homs and stole the corpses.
Graves before destruction: