Damascus is the capital and largest city of Syria. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It has never been completely destroyed during its long history, but this is precisely what the prophet Isaiah says will happen in Isaiah 17:1 "See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. The cities of Aroer will be deserted and left to flocks, which will lie down, with no one to make them afraid. (Isaiah 17:1-2) This prophecy was only partially fulfilled when the Assyrians defeated the Arameans and Damascus, in 732 BC.
Today Damascus is one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited city with a 5000-year history yet Isaiah 17:1 indicates that it will one day cease to exist. Some authorities believe the phrase "cities of Aroer" should be rendered "the cities thereof shall be forsaken." The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim [ie Northern Kingdom], and royal power from Damascus; the remnant of Aram will be like the glory of the Israelites," declares the LORD Almighty. "In that day the glory of Jacob [ie Northern Kingdom] will fade; the fat of his body will waste away. It will be as when a reaper gathers the standing grain and harvests the grain with his arm- as when a man gleans heads of grain in the Valley of Rephaim. (Isaiah 17:3-5)
This refers to the fall of Samaria 10 years later , and the deportation of almost everyone to the far reaches of the Assyrian Empire. Jacob and Ephraim are alternate names for the Northern Kingdom. Yet some gleanings will remain, as when an olive tree is beaten, leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches, four or five on the fruitful boughs," declares the LORD, the God of Israel. (Isaiah 17:6)
Not all the people were removed - a remnant remained . In that day men will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands, and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles and the incense altars their fingers have made. In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation. (Isaiah 17:7-9)
This prophecy was not fulfilled in history: the Assyrians did not turn to God following their conquest of Aram and Israel. Historically, it was the Israelites who were defeated, abandoned their cities, and dispersed, yet in this verse the Israelites caused it.
( A much more likely fulfillment is the yet-future Jewish attack on Damascus causing the destruction and abandonment of Syrian cities; the Israelis want to pre-emptively attack Iran's nuclear facilities, as Iran and Syria supply the money, arms, and manpower for the thousands of missiles Hezbollah has arrayed against Israel. You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. Therefore, though you set out the finest plants and plant imported vines, though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing in the day of disease and incurable pain. (Isaiah 17:10-11)
Shem was Noah's eldest son, and he was the father of Asshur (ie father of the Assyrians), and Aram, (ie father of the Arameans), and Aram's son Uz is the traditional founder of Damascus. The knowledge of God in the memories of these patriarchs cannot be questioned. It wasn't that they never knew Him, but that they had forgotten Him, abandoned Him in favour of the Canaanite gods of the region, and currently Syria is almost totally Moslem.
But return to Him they will. In Isaiah 19 we're told that in the Kingdom Age there'll be a highway extending from Egypt to Assyria, and both will stand with Israel to receive the Lord's blessing. (Isaiah 19:23-25)
Oh, the raging of many nations- they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples- they roar like the roaring of great waters! Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale. In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are gone! This is the portion of those who loot us, the lot of those who plunder us. (Isaiah 17:12-14)
Having conquered both the Arameans and the Northern Kingdom, the Assyrians under King Sennacherib attacked the Southern Kingdom of Judah, but the Lord sent His angel into the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. (Isaiah 37:36-38) Isaiah speaks of many nations raging against God's people, not just Assyria, meaning Sennacherib's defeat was only a partial fulfillment.
Today many believe that Syria will soon try to provoke a Jewish response, and if that escalates things further it can easily result in the destruction of Damascus in the final fulfillment of Isaiah 17.