Home Foreign Islamic State’s destruction of Roman temple is war crime – UNESCO

Islamic State’s destruction of Roman temple is war crime – UNESCO


Beirut – The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on Monday said Islamic State’s demolition of a renowned ancient Roman temple in Palmyra, Syria was a war crime.
UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, said in a statement in Beirut that the crime targeted a historic symbol of the country’s diversity.
She said that such acts were war crimes whose perpetrators must be accountable for their actions.
She also condemned the killing of Khaled al-Asaad, a 82-year-old archaeologist who had looked after Palmyra’s UNESCO World Heritage ruins for four decades.
Islamic State, which holds parts of Syria and Iraq, seized the desert city of Palmyra in May from government forces but had initially left its ancient sites undamaged.
In June, it blew up two shrines that were not part of its Roman-era structures but which it regarded as sacrilegious.
It had also used Palmyra’s Roman amphitheatre as a place for killing people it accused of being government supporters, according to a Syria monitoring group.
“The Baal Shamin temple was built nearly 2,000 years ago and its inner area was severely damaged by the explosion, which also caused surrounding columns to collapse.
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“The art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, is a symbol of the complexity and wealth of the Syrian identity and history,” Bokova said.
Islamic State militants blew up the temple of Baal Shamin, of one of the most important sites in the central city. (Reuters/NAN)

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