ISIS targets Syria's history, existence and future

Over the past six years, the Takfiri terrorists have been targeting Syrian people and infrastructure in implementation of the sinister Zionist project drawn for Syria and the region. However, the takfiri terror was not only restricted to killing and destroying infrastructure as the ISIS and other terrorist groups destroyed the archaeological sites and historical monuments with the aim of eliminating Syria's history and deeply-rooted civilization.

 The destruction of the façade of the Roman Theatre and the Tetrapylon in the archeological site of Palmyra by ISIS terrorists is a war crime and a “Zionist demand” per excellence.This destruction is a new war crime and an immense loss for the Syrian people and for humanity. This new blow against cultural heritage shows that cultural cleansing led by violent extremists is seeking to destroy both human lives and historical monuments in order to deprive the Syrian people of its past and future. This is why the protection of heritage is inseparable from the protection of human lives.

The ISIS terrorists planted explosives at the façade of the Theatre and the “Tetrapylon”, a very famous monument constituting of 16 columns, in the main street in the ancient city, a UNESCO World Heritage site.The terrorists detonated the explosives and demolished the two monuments.

Earlier, ISIS terrorist organization committed a massacre against the residents of Palmyra city  claiming the lives of 12 people, among them 4 state employees and two teachers whom it had kidnapped earlier.Theterrorists of the Takfiri organization also sabotaged a number of archeological sites in the city.The Takfiri organization committed a number of massacres in the city of Palmyra, claiming the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians, bombed and destroyed a number of its archeological antiquities, on top of them Baalshamin temple, the Victory Arch and statue of Allat God, as well as looted a number of archeological pieces and smuggled them.

The UN Security Council condemned the deliberate destruction of historical monuments and cultural heritage in Palmyra by ISIS.A statement issued by the Council  said that member states have been shocked by the reports about the destruction of monuments in Palmyra including the Roman Theatre and the Tetrapylon.UNESCO has also condemned as a “war crime” the destruction of the Tetrapylon and the façade of the Roman Theatre in Palmyra city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in the eastern countryside of Homs by ISIS terrorist organization. But condemnation is not enough and the UN Security Council should take deterrent measures against the states supporting these organizations and providing them with funds to press ahead with their crimes against Syrian people and their public and private properties.

The ISIS and other groups and individuals affiliated to Al Qaeda have made large profits from the pillaging and smuggling of archeological artifacts in Syria, and that they have used the funds procured in this manner to bolster their recruitment and operations.

In August 2015, the terror organization destroyed the tomb towers that date back to various eras extending between 44 and 103 AD, in addition to parts of the Temple of Bel and the Temple of BelShamin and murdering archeologist Khaled al-Asaad, One of the most outstanding Syrian archaeologists who spent his lifetime in studying and digging the historical sites of Palmyra to disclose the secrets of the successive civilizations that had flourished on its soil over different periods.

The destruction of archeological monuments in Palmyra being carried out by ISIS constitutes a crime against humanity. The international community should shoulder its responsibility to protect Palmyra’s archeological sites.

What happened  is obviously a Zionist demand and a Zionist attempt supported by the West and the petroleum sheikhdoms to destroy our identity, heritage and civilization.

The monuments in Palmyra do not belong to Syria alone, but they belong to the whole world, and here comes the role of the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards this horrible brutality unprecedented in history.  The international community should support Syria in its battle for defending Palmyra against those who want to destroy its ruins and civilization.The continued presence of ISIS terrorists in the city of Palmyra will expose the city to further risks.

The General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums at the Ministry of Culture has managed during the terrorist war on Syria to rescue the absolute majority of museum collections from theft as it transported more than 90% of these pieces to safe places in cooperation with the local community.The Directorate has documented, packaged and photographed all the pieces which have been transported to Damascus and safe areas, particularly the possessions of the museums in DeirEzzor, Aleppo and Palmyra, Hama, Homs, Daraa and Quneitra, in addition Lattakia and Tartous.

Since 2012, the Directorate has started exceptional relations with the international culture organizations such as UNESCO and International Council of Museums (ICOM), Interpol and International Customs to garner support for its efforts to protect its cultural heritage.