Nestled in the southern region of the Golan Heights in Syria, Al Qunietra is a governorate bordered by the governorates of Dar’a and Rural Damascus, as well as Lebanon, Jordan, and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. This historically significant area is geographically divided into two districts: Al Quneitra and Al-Fiq.
The city of Al Qunietra, once a vibrant urban center, tragically suffered extensive damage during the war in 1973 and has remained abandoned ever since. Following its destruction by Israel in 1974, the city was included within the UN-patrolled buffer zone as outlined in United Nations Security Council Resolution 350 and the Agreement on Disengagement between Israel and Syria. Today, the ruins of Al Qunietra stand as a poignant symbol of the devastating impact of the conflict.
Visiting Al Qunietra provides a unique opportunity to explore the remnants of the old town, bearing witness to the lingering traces of its tragic past. The debris of the hospital and the damaged old church serve as sombre reminders of the city’s former vitality. As you wander through the deserted streets, you can’t help but reflect on the human stories that once unfolded here and the resilience of the people who called Al Qunietra home.
In addition to exploring the ruins, your journey will take you to the Israeli-controlled side of the border, where you can catch a glimpse of the neighbouring Israeli city of Majdal Shams. From a nearby hill, a panoramic view unfolds, revealing the stark contrast between the war-ravaged Al Qunietra and the bustling Israeli city. The sight serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing geopolitical complexities in the region.
Immersing yourself in this journey from Damascus, you will witness first-hand the aftermath of conflict and the profound impact it has on communities and landscapes. The visit to Al Qunietra and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights offers a unique perspective on the complexities of the region and serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of peace and understanding in overcoming the challenges faced by these territories.
As you stand amidst the ruins of Al Qunietra, the weight of history and the resilience of the human spirit become palpable. The juxtaposition of destruction and life thriving just across the border underscores the urgent need for dialogue and reconciliation. It is a humbling experience that deepens one’s appreciation for the immense toll of conflict and the indomitable spirit of those who endure.
While exploring Al Qunietra and its surroundings from Damascus , it is important to note that the area remains within the UN-patrolled buffer zone, and access may be subject to restrictions or safety considerations. It is advisable to stay informed about the current travel advisories and conditions before planning a visit to ensure the safety of all visitors.
In conclusion, Al Qunietra stands as a haunting testament to the consequences of conflict and the resilience of communities affected by it. The ruins of this once-thriving city serve as both a sombre reminder and a call for peace and understanding in the face of ongoing geopolitical complexities. A visit to Al Qunietra and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights offers a profound journey into the past and present, leaving visitors with a renewed appreciation for the importance of fostering dialogue and seeking peaceful resolutions in the pursuit of a better future.
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