Reports that the ancient city of Palymyra, Syria was seized by ISIS fighters has UNESCO warning of its possible destruction, much like other historic places in Iraq earlier this year.
ISIS has proclaimed that the Qur’an and Mohammad considered non-Islamic ruins and the relics of other religions an unacceptable form of idolatry. ISIS claims the Qur’an compels all Muslims to destroy these irreplaceable treasures from humanity’s ancient past, and the Islamist fanatics have made it clear that, given the opportunity, they intend to destroy everything they consider un-Islamic, including the Pyramids of Egypt, the Sphinx, and the ancient temples of Greece.
The depraved fanaticism of ISIS is so perverse and degenerate that they have even said the Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest site in Islam, contains idols and stated their intention to destroy it. According to ISIS terrorist Abu Turab Al Mugaddasi, “If Allah wills, we will kill those who worship stones in Mecca and destroy the Kaaba. People go to Mecca to touch the stones, not for Allah.”
Palmyra was declared a World Heritage Site because of its 2000-year-old valuable ruins, which are now in extreme danger of being torn to pieces by the brutal ISIS terrorists. The relics have been standing since the second millennium B.C. and display the incredible architecture of that time period, CNN reports.
The ruins in Palmyra have already suffered during the Syrian Civil War, but UNESCO expressed grave concerns that if ISIS had, in fact, seized the old city, it could be completely destroyed.
“The situation is very bad. If only five members of Isis go into the ancient buildings, they’ll destroy everything,” Syria’s antiquities chief, Maamoun Abdulkarim, said, while pleading for international action to save the city, according to the Guardian.
According to Abdulkarim, hundreds of statues and ancient artifacts from its museum have already been transferred out of the city, but many others – including massive tombs – could not be moved.
Rami Abdel Rahman — head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights — said Isis had seized approximately a third of Palmyra on Wednesday. Following heavy fighting on the northern limits of the ancient Syrian city, Isis fighters entered the northern quarter without their vehicles.
Khaled al-Homsi — an activist in Palmyra — says that residents are terrified of what will happen to the city because ISIS is capable of taking the heart of Palmyra and destroying it. Government forces are fighting the terrorists, and people are being told to remain inside their homes.
A Syrian military source said that ISIS fighters had infiltrated northern Palmyra neighborhoods and were engaged in street fighting with Syrian military forces. The source added that anything is possible in urban warfare.
The Islamic State offensive against Palmyra began on May 13, 2015 when ISIS seized two gas fields northeast of Palmyra, Syria, just a day after firing rockets into the city, killing five. Now, the ancient city is on the brink of destruction.
Could we see the horrific images of ISIS terrorists destroying artifacts in other cities in Iraq repeated in Palmyra, Syria?
As Palmyra, Syria falls to ISIS, the world waits to see what will happen to this historic city and its ancient relics.
[Image via upyernoz/Wikipedia]