ISIS pledges to turn even more of ancient Palmyra into rubble
Article RadarTHIS ARTICLE CONNECT:
- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
Affected Countries: syria;
The first shocking images have been released of ISIS blowing up an ancient temple in the Syrian archaeological treasure of Palmyra.
The Baalshamin temple had stood at the site for nearly 2,000 years and was considered one of the best preserved temple on the site.
Images showed the militants laying out rows of explosives before detonating them, with a plume of smoke rising from the ancient wonder before the rubble left behind is shown.
The destruction has been described as an ‘immense loss for the Syrian people and for humanity’ by the UN’s cultural watchdog Unesco, who also labelled it a ‘war crime’.
Meaning ‘Lord of Heaven’, the temple was dedicated to the ancient pagan god of Baal.
One witness, who goes by the name Nasser al-Thaer, said ISIS militants had been laying explosives around the temple for more than a month.
He said he feared for the other ancient sites in Palmyra but that no explosives have been placed around them.
Activists from the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights suggested that the temple of Baalshamin may have been destroyed a month ago.
The news comes after ISIS used a bulldozer to demolish the 1,500-year-old Mar Elian Monastery, a national Syrian treasure, which has stood in Al-Qaryatayn since 432 AD.
ISIS supporters shared the pictures online and praised them for destroying the building because God ‘was not worshipped there’.
The extremists also captured more than 200 people when they seized Al-Qaryatayn on August 6 and took 100 of them to the group’s de-facto capital of Raqqa.
The desecrated Assyrian monastery took its name from Saint Elian, who was martyred after refusing to denounce his Christianity at the hands of his father, a Roman officer. Many ‘miracles’ were attributed to St Elian, who was a doctor.
The church was built on the spot where he died and his remains still rest in a small sarcophagus in a small chapel near its main crypt.
When Mar Elian was renovated in 1969, the plaster which lined the walls was removed to reveal stunning murals of Jesus, Mary and prophets dating back to the 6th Century.
An Italian Jesuit priest, Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, began work to renovate the church one more time around ten years ago.
He was kidnapped by ISIS In July 2013 and although his fate is unknown, sources of the Assyrian International News Agency say he was killed by a Saudi-national upon capture.
Of the 230 people who were kidnapped by ISIS in Al-Qaryatayn a few weeks ago, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims some were taken from a church.
Rami Abdulrahman, the head of the Observatory, told MailOnline that more than 100 of them – which may include Christians – have now been taken to ISIS’s war-ravaged capital of Raqqa.
These latest acts of barbarity come after ISIS butchered one of Syria’s most respected archaeologists because he refused to reveal the location of gold and priceless artefacts in the ancient city of Palmyra.
Khaled Assad, 82, was held hostage by ISIS for over a month before he was beheaded.
A Christian group said the abductions were the latest in a string of events that targeted their community, one of the oldest Christian populations in the Middle East.
ISIS has also destroyed dozens of churches and ancient archaeological sites in the past year.
The group sparked global outrage when its militants were filmed destroying a collection of priceless statues and structures inside a Mosul museum.
It later turned out that most of the 3,000-year-old sculptures were worthless were replicas of the real artefacts which are housed safely in the capital Baghdad.
After the footage was released in February, Mosul’s exiled governor confirmed the vast majority were fakes but at least two of the destroyed structures were authentic.
Atheel Nuafi told Saudi-based Al Arabiya: ‘One is a Winged Bull and the other was the God of Rozhan.’
The Winged Bull, which was seen being smashed by sledgehammers, was supposedly the same one which stood at the gates of Nineveh in the 7th century BC.
It was seen as a ‘very important locally’ because it was one of the few ancient objects that had not left the country or gone to Baghdad.
In April, footage showed ISIS using sledgehammers and barrel bombs to demolish the Iraqi city of Nimrud – near Mosul – which dates back to 13th Century BC.
Militants hammered away 3,000-year-old sculptures and carved stone slabs before bulldozing and exploding the ruins.
One fanatic said in the video: ‘God has honoured us in the Islamic State to remove all of these idols and statutes worshipped instead of Allah in the past days.’
Another vowed that ‘whenever we seize a piece of land, we will remove signs of idolatry and spread monotheism’.
Just weeks earlier the terror group took apart the historic Iraqi city of Hatra using AK-47 rifles and hammers.
Another video showed the extremists smashing shrines and statues in the 2,000-year-old city which was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1985.
Source: Daily Mail