terça-feira, 19 de maio de 2015

Of Mosul to Palmira: "Islamic State" declares war on History

The historic city of Palmira, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, seems to have escaped the destructive fury of the Group Islamic State (EI).

The Syrian army claims to have been able to resume the ancient city, dating from the 1st century a.d. and besieged for days by Islamist fighters.

According to the Syrian Observatory for human rights, the fights for the locale that has in the past resisted the Roman Empire and the Persian invaders, have caused the death of Islamist fighters 115, 57 civilians and 123 Syrian military on Sunday.

The historic city of refuge for centuries the famous silk road caravans and regarded as the "Venice of the desert, is the latest target of the campaign group Islamic State for destroying pre-Islamic artifacts â€" a campaign of" cultural extermination, "according to UNESCO.

In Mosul the Nimrud: the route of EI destruction since last summer, with the conquest of the city of Mosul, which the Islamist fighters do not hesitate to attack the historic heritage of the Syrian and Iraqi cities "conquered". Last March, the Islamist group publicised a video, whose veracity is disputed since then, with images of the destruction of various artifacts in the Museum of Mosul.

Days later, the HEY also claimed the demolition of several monuments of the city of Nimrud in northern Iraq, including the Royal Tombs, discovered in the years 80 and also classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. An attack that, for archaeologists could compare in gravity, the destruction of the Coliseum in Rome. Built in 612 century d.c., Nimrud was the second largest city of the Assyrian Kingdom, one of the largest regional powers of antiquity in the Middle East.

In the "capital" of the self-proclaimed Islamic State group, Mosul, since last June that the fighters regularly publish videos, the pair of images of executions of hostages, to claim the destruction of churches, tombs and Christian images in the city.

In July last year, the Islamist fighters claimed, with the images as evidence, have destroyed the tomb of the biblical prophet Jonah, in Mosul. In early April, the Group also claimed to have demolished the historic city of Hatra, in northern Iraq (the 110 Km South of Mosul), built more than 2,000 years. Palmira: his next target? "We have to save Pamira". The appeal of the Director-General of UNESCO resonated last Thursday in the media. To Irina Bokova, who had already considered the previous EI attacks against the Syrian and Iraqi archaeological heritage as a war crime, "the historic site represents an irreplaceable treasure for the Syrian people and the world. I appeal to all parties in conflict to protect the city and make every possible effort to prevent the destruction of the town ". Among the most important monuments of Palmyra â€" and more vulnerable in the event of an attack â€" is the Temple of Baal, Sanctuary of the gods of Palmira, the ruins of a theatre audience and a street flanked by multiple columns. "If the old city falls into the hands of the HEY Let's watch an international catastrophe. Will be a repeat of ' barbarie ' that we have seen in Nimrud, Hatra and Mosul, underscored the Director-General of UNESCO. According to the Syrian army, the weekend fighting to repel the Islamist fighters in the Northwest of the city will be spared the archaeological sites, situated southwest of the town. A mortar shot will have, however, fallen in the garden of the Museum of Palmyra, without causing material damages, according to the Director-General of Syrian Museums, Maamún Abdelkarim.

The ancient city, considered as one of the most important cultural centers of antiquity had already suffered some damage, between February and September of 2013, when groups of rebels controlled the area. The fighting with the Syrian army would have caused some cracks in the Temple of Baal, following artillery shots.

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