Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Islamic State booby-traps ancient city of Palmyra, destruction imminent

For Islam, the period before 610AD is considered the time of darkness, a pre-Islamic era called jahiliya where everything must be destroyed, in order to remove the temptation of idolatry.

"Many were the Ways of Life that have passed away before you: travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who rejected Truth" That is Qur’an sura 3, verse 137.  The Islamic State is following the orders and actions of Muhammad so there is no negotiating, no compromise, no agreement to be had.  Palmyra will soon, I fear go the way of Ninevah, Mosul, Raqqa and a multitude of small Biblical villages and archaeological sites.  Ashes to ashes,  dust to dust.  What a waste of civilizational history.

From AFP/Guardian June 21

Islamic State lays explosives in Syria's Palmyra ruins

Islamic State jihadis have mined the spectacular ancient ruins in Syria’s Palmyra, according to an antiquities official and monitor, prompting fears for the Unesco world heritage site a month after the extremist group overran the central Syrian city.

Syria’s antiquities chief, Maamoun Abdulkarim, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said on Sunday that the group had placed mines and explosives in Palmyra’s Greco-Roman ruins. The observatory, which relies on a network of sources on the ground, said the explosives were laid on Saturday.

“It is not known if the purpose is to blow up the ruins or to prevent regime forces from advancing into the town,” said the observatory’s director Rami Abdel Rahman. He said regime forces had launched heavy air strikes against the residential part of Palmyra in the past three days, killing at least 11 people.

“The regime forces are to the west outside the city, and in recent days they have brought in reinforcements suggesting they may be planning an operation to retake Palmyra,” he added.

A political source told AFP that a leading commander had been dispatched to the region to organise an offensive to recapture and secure Palmyra and several key gas fields nearby.

Abdulkarim also said he had received reports from Palmyra residents that the ruins had been mined. “We have preliminary information from residents saying that this is correct, they have laid mines at the temple site,” he told AFP. “I hope that these reports are not correct, but we are worried.”

He urged “Palmyra’s residents, tribal chiefs and religious and cultural figures to intervene to prevent this … and prevent what happened in northern Iraq”, referring to Isis’s destruction of heritage sites there. “I am very pessimistic and feel sadness,” he added.

Isis captured Palmyra, which is famed for its extensive and well-preserved ruins, on 21 May. The group has regularly heavily mined its territory to make it more difficult to recapture.

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