The ISIL Takfiri group has executed at least 17 people after seizing the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.
The ISIL terrorist group has “executed 17 people, including civilians and loyalist fighters. At least four of them were beheaded,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said on Thursday.
Abdel Rahman had said a day earlier that the ISIL Takfiri militants were almost in full control of the city, which is located in Syria’s central Homs Province.
The head of the London-based group added that the executed people were accused of working for the Syrian government.
The ISIL terrorist group “is preventing residents from leaving their homes and is combing civilian houses” in Palmyra to find people loyal to the Syrian government, said a Syrian activist, identified as Mohammad Hassan al-Homsi.
Palmyra’s UNESCO-listed heritage site, which is situated in the city’s southwest, includes ancient temples and colonnaded streets, and a museum housing priceless artifacts.
Meanwhile, Syria’s Tourism Minister Bishr Yazigi criticized the international community for not taking practical measures to save the city. He added that only condemning the Takfiri group’s brutalities is not enough.
“We have to stir the whole humanity up to take a genuine action that protects Palmyra’s ancient antiquities,” the Syrian minister said, adding, “The international community should assume its responsibility to press the sides that fund and supply terrorists, who perpetrate their crimes against our heritage and history.”
UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova also warned that the ISIL Takfiri militants’ demolition of Palmyra would be an “enormous loss to humanity.”
“Palmyra is an extraordinary world heritage site in the desert and any destruction to Palmyra [would be] not just a war crime but… an enormous loss to humanity,” Bokova said in a video message released on Thursday.
Over the past days, Syrian forces have been engaged in fierce clashes with the Takfiri terrorists in Palmyra to prevent them from destroying the UNESCO world heritage site.
The Takfiri militants have ransacked and demolished several ancient sites, including a number of mosques, in Syria and Iraq. The Takfiri terrorists have also razed to the ground a number of mosques in Syria and Iraq, many of them dating back to the early years of the Islamic civilization. The terrorists have also destroyed tombs belonging to revered Shia and Sunni figures.
Back in February, the ISIL terrorists smashed ancient statues at the Ninawa museum in the Iraqi city of Mosul, using sledgehammers and drills.