UNESCO says Palmyra's destruction is 'war crime'

According to UN's cultural agency, destruction of ancient temple Baal Shamin is 'war crime'

Photo by: Public Domain
Photo by: Public Domain

The Baalshamin temple is dedicated to the Phoenician god of storms and fertilising rains

Updated Aug 25, 2015

After the destruction of an ancient Baalshamin temple in Palmyra by ISIS militant on Sunday, the chief of UN’s Cultural Agency described the action committed as a "war crime."

"The systematic destruction of cultural symbols embodying Syrian cultural diversity reveals the true intent of such attacks, which is to deprive the Syrian people of its knowledge, its identity and history," the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova said on Monday.

Palmyra is a 2,000-year-old antique city home to Roman era ruins, which was added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1980.

ISIS, which is known for destroying all historical sites in neighbouring Iraq, started attacks on the central Homs province May, raising alarm both in Syria and abroad.

Earlier in June, ISIS also blew up two ancient shrines that were considered pagan structures by the militants.

ISIS, which captured Palmyra in May, currently controls swathes of territory larger than Britain, extending from eastern Syria to western Iraq.

TRTWorld and agencies