In the home timeline, Damascus was destroyed in 2033 by an atomic bomb in a terrorist attack. Even as late as 2096, no one had claimed responsibility, and the culprit was unknown, although there was no shortage of suspects, including Syrian rebels, Israel, Turkey and the United States.
It was while on a trading run to Damascus that Mouamet thought he heard the Archangel Gabriel tell him to follow a Christian monk preaching in the marketplace. This led Mouamet into a monastic life at Ir-Ruhaiyeh, where he composed sublime hymns.
Decades later, the invading Persians forced the monks to flee. Abbot Isaac, briefly considered moving the monastery to Damascus, but feared it might also fall to the Persians.