Quneitra is the largely destroyed and abandoned capital of the Quneitra Governorate in south-western Syria. It is situated in a high valley in the Golan Heights at an elevation of 1’010 metres above sea level. Its name is Arabic for “the little bridge”.
Quneitra was founded in the Ottoman era as a way station on the caravan route to Damascus and subsequently became a garrison town of some 20’000 people. In 1946, it became part of the independent Syrian Arab Republic within the Riff Dimashq Governorate and in 1964 became the capital of the split Quneitra Governorate. On 10 June 1967, the last day of the Six-Day War, Quneitra came under Israeli control. It was briefly recaptured by Syria during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, but Israel regained control in its subsequent counter-offensive. The city was almost completely destroyed before the Israeli withdrawal in June 1974. Israel was heavily criticized by the United Nations for the city’s destruction. During the war, Quneitra became a clash point between terrorist forces and Syrian Arab Army.
In 2004, its population was estimated at 153 persons, with some 4’000 more living in the surrounding areas of the former city. Quneitra now lies in the formerly demilitarized United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone (between Syrian territory and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights).
⤷ City: 20’000