UNESCO condemned ISIS’s destruction of the most famous monuments in the ancient city of Palmyra, the Tetrapylon, and the facade of its Roman Theatre two days ago.
UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said in a statement that the destruction of the UNESCO world heritage site constituted “a new war crime and an immense loss for the Syrian people and for humanity.”
Satellite imagery showed the Tetrapylon largely destroyed, with only four of 16 columns still standing and the stone platform apparently covered in rubble.
Regime forces also have targeted monuments. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), regime forces targeted 16 archaeological sites in 2016, including four museums. Regime forces have most recently bombed a Roman temple built near a water spring in the village of Ayn Alfija in the Wadi Barada valley northwest of Damascus.
The Syrian Coalition stressed that the Assad regime and the ISIS extremist group continued to target Syria’s infrastructure and cultural heritage. The brutal onslaught on Aleppo by the Assad regime and its allies in late 2016 led to the destruction of over more than 150 archaeological sites, ancient buildings, and famous landmarks, most notably the Old Souk in central Aleppo.
The Coalition called upon UNESCO and international bodies concerned with the protection of world heritage sites to protect what remained of Syria’s historical monuments from attacks by the Assad regime and ISIS. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office + Agencies)