Death blow to centuries of cultural heritage

On Aug 23, ISIS blew up the Baal Shamin temple in Syria's ancient city of Palmyra and, in February, the militants destroyed statues (above) and other artefacts in the Mosul Museum.
On Aug 23, ISIS blew up the Baal Shamin temple in Syria's ancient city of Palmyra and, in February, the militants destroyed statues (above) and other artefacts in the Mosul Museum.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
On Aug 23, ISIS blew up the Baal Shamin temple (above) in Syria's ancient city of Palmyra and, in February, the militants destroyed statues and other artefacts in the Mosul Museum.
On Aug 23, ISIS blew up the Baal Shamin temple (above) in Syria's ancient city of Palmyra and, in February, the militants destroyed statues and other artefacts in the Mosul Museum.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The destruction of irreplaceable antiquities in Syria and Iraq has become something of a grim wartime routine for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), with the Temple of Baal at Palmyra the latest to be obliterated. Here's a look at some of the other historic sites and artefacts destroyed by the terrorist group:

  • On Aug 23, ISIS blew up the Temple of Baal Shamin in Palmyra with explosives.
  • In June, it blew up two historic tombs, one of a Shi'ite saint and another of a Sufi scholar, in Palmyra because it considers them to be forms of idolatry.
  • In March, ISIS released videos showing its militants shooting at and bulldozing Hatra and Nimrud, ancient sites in northern Iraq.
  • In February, it released a video showing militants, armed with sledgehammers and other tools, destroying statues and artefacts in the Mosul Museum.
  • Thousands of books and rare manuscripts were burned in February in Mosul's library.
  • In January, ISIS reportedly bombed large swathes of the ancient Niveneh Wall, which had stood in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul for 2,700 years.
  • In July last year, ISIS rigged the Nabi Yunus shrine in Mosul with explosives and blew it up. The shrine was revered by Muslims and Christians as the tomb of the prophet Jonah.
  • In the same month, the 13th-century shrine of Imam Awn al-Din in Mosul, one of the few structures to have survived the 13th-century Mongol invasion, was destroyed by ISIS.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2015, with the headline 'Death blow to centuries of cultural heritage'. Print Edition | Subscribe