WASHINGTON (CNN) – Seeking to leave no doubt. ISIS has released images showing its destruction of an ancient temple. Scholars have called for the militants to stop their obliteration of cultural artifacts. However, those pleas have landed on deaf ears.
The pictures show ISIS fighters rigging the Temple of Baal Shamin with explosives, then the explosion, then the aftermath. Two thousand years of history turned into rubble and dust. It wasn’t ISIS’ first brazen act of vandalism against the past
In Iraq, they’ve gone on a rampage of destruction. Not seen since the Mongol sacking of Baghdad in 1258 and alas it probably won’t be the last.
Since driving Syrian regime forces out of the ancient city of Palmyra in May, they’ve smashed statues, used the city’s roman era amphitheater as a backdrop to a mass execution of regime soldiers, and last week beheaded the 82-year old former Palmyra director of antiquities.
Many of the most important artifacts were moved to relative safety in Damascus before ISIS took over Palmyra.
ISIS’ war against history is part of its policy of shock-and-awe destroying ancient temples and statues, Christian churches and Shia shrines.
In the name of their warped vision of Islam, executing prisoners and hostages in grisly snuff films to show they’ll stop at nothing to achieve their goal of a world-wide caliphate.
However, for ordinary Syrians, shock-and-awe is old. More than two hundred and fifty thousand have been killed since the uprising against Bashar al-Assad that began four and a half years ago. Millions have fled the country. Many now desperately trying to reach Europe while millions more have been displaced.
The four horsemen of the apocalypse are stalking Syria, few people there have the luxury to mourn the loss of an old building.
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