QUNEITRA

The war-ravaged town of Quneitra owes its current misfortune to its location beside the Golan Heights and crossroads leading to four different countries.  Quneitra was destroyed during the Syrian-Israeli war in 1967.  In 1973 Syria and Egypt launched a surprise attack against Israel to regain their lost territories, but today most of the Golan Heights remains under Israeli controland the only part of the area that can be visited from Syria is Quneitra.

Quneitra has been opened by Syria as a museum to document this event, and a visit to the town is a worthwhile and first hand look at the aftermath of the military conflicts that have plagued the Middle East since the middle of the 20th century. Visitors are given a guided tour of the modern ruins including a walk through the crumbled main streets, now overgrown with weeds.  The partially destroyed mosque, church and hospital have been stripped bare and are riddled with bullet holes.  The Syrian position under Hafez al-Assad has always remained firm – no peace until the entire Golan is returned to Syria – and unsurprisingly this is the line now taken by Bashar al- Assad in the early years of his presidency.