The UN cultural agency has warned that the Takfiri ISIL militants’ demolition of Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra, designated as a World Heritage site, 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,” UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said in a video message released on Thursday.
Bokova said she was “extremely worried” about the recent events in Palmyra, calling for an end to the ISIL militants’ attacks on the historical city.
The UNESCO head further urged the international community, including the UN Security Council and religious leaders, to launch an appeal to stop the violence in Palmyra.
“It is important because we are speaking about the birth of human civilization; we are speaking about something that belongs to the whole of humanity,” she added.
Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said on Wednesday that the ISIL Takfiri militants are almost in full control of the city located in Syria’s central Homs province.
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.
The photo taken on May 18, 2015 shows Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra, a day after the ISIL terrorists fired rockets into the city, killing several people. (AFP)
Syria’s antiquities chief, Mamoun Abdulkarim, recently said that hundreds of statues and artifacts have been transferred from the city, but many others, which are too heavy to move such as massive tombs, are still there.
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 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.
The ruins of the shrine of Prophet Jonah, which was destroyed by the ISIL Takfiri militants in the Iraqi city of Mosul (file photo)
Back in February, the ISIL terrorists smashed ancient statues at the Ninawa museum in Mosul, using sledgehammers and drills.
In March, the ISIL terrorists damaged two UNESCO heritage sites of Nimrud and Hatra, both located in northern Iraq. The Takfiri militants also demolished and looted artifacts at the ancient archeological site of Khorsabad situated 15 kilometers (9 miles) northeast of the Iraqi city of Mosul.