When the destruction is so brutal it is compared to the tragedies of World War II, someone is either exaggerating or telling a petrifying truth. In this case, it’s the latter as the war in Syria declared by the Islamic State continues to escalate.
Head of the UNESCO World Heritage sites Irina Bokova described this situation as such: A Syrian temple that dates back to the early first century has been destroyed by Islamic State militants on Sunday, which is not the first and is not expected to be the last of attacks by this extremist group. Located in the ancient ruins of Palmyra, the Baalshamin temple, dedicated to the Phoenician god of storms, was blown up after the militants placed explosives around it causing a devastating blast to the area, also causing some of the columns of a nearby Roman amphitheater to collapse. The theater recently served as a site for the execution of 25 prisoners which was released to the public on video.
The destruction of the temple serves as another example of their claim over the city, as they forcefully impose their Islamic government and religious beliefs on the people. They believe that the ancient relics housed by this temples and others, including some in Iraq, are symbols of idolatry and for that reason must be destroyed in an attempt to dispel their paganism.
This incident is just one violent warning in several days. This past Wednesday an even more frightening warning was displayed on a pole in the city. It was the headless body of 81-year-old Khaled al-Asaad, who spent his entire life studying Palmyra.
Simultaneously in Iraq, the military have been trying to endure ambushes from the Islamic State, who killed 23 men on Sunday, following the execution of 50 men in a nearby province two days prior.
As the terror controlled by these extremists steadily grows, Dr. Abdul-Karim of Syria’s Directorate of Antiquities and Museums told Reuters, “God help us in the days to come