Screen capture of a YouTube video that shows the ruins of Khalid bin al Walid's mausoleum.
The mausoleum of Khalid bin al Walid, one of the Prophet’s companions, was destroyed by shelling from the Syrian army on Monday, provoking outrage in the city of Homs. Rebel fighters there are now trying to use this incident to recruit new fighters via the Internet.
Khalid bin al Walid, said to be born in 592 in Mecca, served as a general for the Prophet Mohammed and his two first caliphs, Abu Bakr and Omar. Following Mohammed’s death, he took part in the war to take back the Arabic peninsula, and notably commanded the Muslim armies during the capture of Iraq and Syria. Like Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great, his armies never lost. He is said to have died in 642 and have been buried in Homs.
Located in the hotly-contested neighbourhood of Khalidiya, his mausoleum was targeted by the Syrian army, which has been ramping up its attacks on the rebels in Homs over the past three weeks. Since its total destruction on Monday, rebels have used images of the mausoleum’s ruins to make renewed calls for jihad against Bashar Al Assad’s regime, via videos posted online.
The two following videos were posted online on July 22, the day of the mausoleum’s shelling, by opposition activists in the Khalidiya neighbourhood.
In this video, a rebel addresses Muslims: “What are you going to say to God now that the mausoleum of the Prophet’s companion has been destroyed?”
“Look at what the Shiites, these dogs, have done to Khalid bin al Walid’s mausoleum!” says the rebel in this video. “We have begged you to help us break the siege [of the army on Homs], but no one replied…”
The neighbourhood of Khalidiya is under the rebels’ control. For more than a year now, it has been under siege and bombarded nearly every day.
According to the Middle East Monitor, Assad’s troops have destroyed 780 mosques
throughout Syria since the beginning of the conflict in March 2011. Churches, synagogues and religious schools have also been destroyed.