The director of Daraa’s Department of Antiquities, Mohamad al-Naserallah, warned that an ancient temple located in the town of Al-Mataieh, in the southeastern Daraa countryside, is likely to collapse due to the acts of terrorist groups and illegal excavations in and around the site.
Naserallah told SANA’s correspondent that evidence obtained from the locals confirmed the terrorist organizations’ vandalism of the temple, which dates back to the first century AD, adding that groups of thieves who smuggle antiquities and buried treasures had carried out acts of sabotage and theft within the temple and its surroundings.
The director said that some of the illicit excavations have affected the temple’s foundations, which constitutes a danger to the structure if the digging continues.
He said that the local community is cooperating with Daraa’s Department of Antiquities to inform it about the state of the antiquities. The town’s proximity to Daraa’s border with Jordan has allowed illegal excavators to smuggle artifacts to Jordan without any deterrent, he added.
According to Naserallah, Amman has confirmed the existence of a warehouse used by terrorists for smuggling archeological artifacts from Syria to Jordan through illegal border crossings. The Jordanian authorities did not specify the number of artifacts in the warehouse.
The temple in Al-Mataieh, which locals call the temple of Alexander the Great, was built at the beginning of the first century AD and is located in the center of the town.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.