Around 40 villages grouped in eight archaeological parks situated in north-western Syria provide an insight into rural life in Late Antiquity and during the Byzantine period. Most of the villages, which date from the 1st to 7th centuries, were abandoned between the 8th and 10th centuries. The settlements feature the well-preserved architectural remains of dwellings, pagan temples, churches, cisterns, bathhouses etc. The Dead Cities are situated in an elevated area of limestone known as Limestone Massif. Chris Wickham , in the authoritative survey of the post-Roman world, " Framing the Early Middle Ages " argues that these were settlements of prosperous peasants which have few or no specifically urban features.
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The United States has shown that it won't 'shy away' from responding to attacks against its personnel when necessary, the Pentagon said on Wednesday after a rocket attack against Iraq's Ain al-Asad air base, which hosts US coalition and Iraqi forces. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, during which a US national who was working as a civilian contractor died after suffering a heart attack while taking shelter. No other casualties were reported.
Massive footprints were carved into the floor; whether of giants, humans or animals is debatable. Ain Dara may have been devoted to Ishtar , goddess of fertility,  or to the related female goddess Astarte. In late January , the temple was significantly damaged by Turkish Air Force jets in the course of their Afrin offensive. The site's emblematic basalt lion was stolen in December by members of the al-Hamzat militia, a part of the Syrian National Army. It was built on a terrace known as the " acropolis of the tell ".