Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Biblical city of Palmyra under siege by the Islamic State, ancient ruins threatened, again

The Islamic State now has 30% of Palmyra under control.  If history is any indication (and it always is) when they gain the entire city, the first thing to do, after murdering the opposition, will be to destroy, bulldoze, blow up and crush any history which is considered, from the pre-Islamic period or "jahiliya" to be idolatry.  The civilizational genocide continues, and the world does nothing.

From the Washington Post May 20 by Loveday Morris

Islamic State militants seize Syrian city of Palmyra, threatening ancient ruins

BAGHDAD — Islamic State militants seized control of the majority of the Syrian city of Palmyra on Wednesday, marking the second significant strategic gain for the group in the past week and leaving one of the region’s most renowned archaeological sites in peril.

Activists and Syrian state media said pro-government forces had withdrawn from the city 130 miles northeast of Damascus after a week-long assault by the militants. The city’s notorious Tadmor Prison, where scores of anti-regime political prisoners are incarcerated, was also in the extremist group’s hands by nightfall, activists said.

The gain consolidates the Islamic State’s control west toward the Syrian capital and east in the direction of the border with Iraq, where militants seized the city of Ramadi on Sunday. Advances by the Islamic State demonstrate the group’s ability to continue to take territory, despite recent assertions by American officials that it remains largely on the defensive after 10 months of U.S.-led airstrikes.

The fall of Palmyra to Islamic State forces effectively puts its ancient sites, which lie just on the outskirts of the modern city, in the group’s hands. Irina Bokova, ­director-general of UNESCO, said she was “ deeply concerned” about the situation at the site, which rose to prominence as a wealthy caravan oasis in the 1st century A.D. After some 2,000 years, the striking Roman colonnades of the Temple of Baal still stand majestically in the desert.

Not for much longer.

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