Islamic State takes sledgehammer to ‘irreplaceable’ ancient Palmyra artefacts

by 1389 on July 5, 2015

in 1389 (blog admin), Islamic State (of Iraq and ash-Sham/Levant/ISIS/ISIL/Daesh), Syria

Palmyra: ISIS takes sledgehammer to ancient statues

Telegraph (UK) has the story:

Isil militants have released images showing a civilian being forced to destroy priceless artefacts from the Roman city of Palmyra as the head of Unesco warned of “cultural cleansing” by the extremist group’

Militants from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) are feared to have begun destruction of Syria’s Roman city of Palmyra as the head of Unesco warned of “cultural cleansing” by the extremist group.

Maamoun Abdelkarim, Syrian antiquities minister, said on Thursday the militants had destroyed a 15 tonne statue of a lion, known as the Lion of Al-Lat.

“It’s the most serious crime they have committed against Palmyra’s heritage,” Mr Abdelkarim told AFP news agency. Isil seized Palmyra’s ruins from Syrian government control in May, prompting widespread fears that the group could destroy the a Unesco World Heritage site as an act of propaganda.

The jihadists have destroyed cultural treasures across the Middle East and North Africa, often describing the sites as idolatrous.

Although Isil was reported to have mined sections of Palmyra last month, the ruins were thought to have been left undamaged in an attempt to curry favour with local residents as it consolidated power in a nearby town bearing the same name.

On Thursday Isil posted photos of a civilian being forced to destroy what appeared to be priceless statues plucked from Palmyra’s undulating ruins.

One image, apparently taken in the Syrian city of Aleppo, showed the jihadists flogging a resident as he smashed a statue for the gathered crowd. In others, the militants joined in the public destruction themselves. The accompanying text said the ‘contraband’ artefacts were found in the possession of a lone smuggler.

Since sweeping to power across large swathes of Iraq and Syria last year, Isil has tried to establish a monopoly on the smuggling of artefacts. It has even established a ministry of antiquities to regulate the process.

The Telegraph has obtained Isil-stamped licences from branches in Aleppo and Deir Ezzor permitting residents to excavate archaeological material, apparently in return for a sum of money.

Involvement in the trade has reportedly raised the extremist group tens of millions of pounds, a similar sum to that raised through the kidnap and ransom of Western hostages.

Irina Bokova, the head of the UN cultural agency Unesco, said on Tuesday that one fifth of Iraq’s estimated 10,000 official sites had been heavily looted under Isil control.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gramfan July 5, 2015 at 7:20 pm

“Frank Stokes: You can wipe out an entire generation, you can burn their homes to the ground and somehow they’ll still find their way back. But if you destroy their history, you destroy their achievements and it’s as if they never existed. That’s what Hitler wants and that’s exactly what we are fighting for. ”

We need a new word for these “creatures”!

2 Uncle Vladdi July 6, 2015 at 11:17 pm

What does one call the lickspittle nancy-boy nanny-state metrosexuals enabling ISILam?



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