ISIS militants behead archaeologist in Palmyra

Syrian officials say ISIS militants beheaded archaeologist in Palmyra

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Historic monuments that are often targeted by ISIS in Palmyra, Syria

ISIS militants beheaded an archaeologist and hung his body on a column in Syria’s historic Palmyra on Tuesday, according to Syrian authorities.

The 82-year-old Khaled Asaad was executed by the militant group after being captured and interrogated for over a month, according to information from his family.

"Just imagine that such a scholar who gave such memorable services to the place and to history would be beheaded ... and his corpse still hanging from one of the ancient columns in the centre of a square in Palmyra,” said the state antiquities chief.

"The continued presence of these criminals in this city is a curse and bad omen on [Palmyra] and every column and every archaeological piece in it."

The beheaded archaeologist Asaad was known for many scholarly works on Palmyra that were published in international journals.

He is also renowned for his work with US, French, German and Swiss archaeological missions and research in Palmyra, with the millenniums-old ruins.

Before ISIS captured the city, Syrian officials reportedly transported hundreds of ancient statues to safer locations as they feared the group would destroy them.

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

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

TRTWorld and agencies