(The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group have reportedly killed hundreds after seizing the ancient town of Palmyra last week. Syrian state TV has reported that about 400 civilians were killed by the group since Wednesday, while activists in Palmyra said that ISIL fighters hunted down President Bashar al-Assad’s troops and loyalists, killing up to 300 of them.- Aljazeera)
“Analysing satellite images, scientists based at Wuhan University in China, in co-operation with the #WithSyria coalition of 130 non-governmental organisations, have shown that the number of lights visible over Syria at night has fallen by 83% since March 2011.”
Is it a bad word to describe some people’s really bad situation? people who can’t defend themselves and protect their families from killing and being bombed and they are just numbers to the whole world?
Islamic State (ISIS) killed 400 people in Syria's Palmyra - Most of them Women and Children - 24 May 2015
Islamic State fighters have killed at least 400 people in Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra, most of them women and children, Syrian state television said on Sunday. It said it was quoting residents inside the city, which is known as Tadmur in Arabic and is home to renowned Roman-era ruins including well-preserved temples, colonnades and a theater. Opposition activists have said on social media that hundreds of bodies were in the streets of the city after it was seized by the ultra hardline group on Wednesday. They said they were believed to be government loyalists.
Take a good hard look because all this is about to be destroyed!
Known as the ‘Venice of the Sands’, the ancient city of Palmyra dates back to at least the second millennium BCE, it’s even mentioned in the Bible & the Talmud.
It was designated as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1980.
Between the first & third century CE the city became very wealthy & prosperous as a leading trading centre after caravan traders from across Syria & the Roman & Persian empires used it as a station for their caravans. It was an important stop on the Silk Road.
Thanks to the prosperous economy the Palmyrenes were able to construct major projects including Hadrian’s Gate (first picture, it was visited by the Roman emperor Hadrian in 129 CE), the Roman theatre (third picture), the temple of Ba’al (fifth picture), & other important temples & monuments.
At its peak the city had over 200,000 inhabitants making it one of the largest cities of its time. The majority of its inhabitants were Arameans, Arabs, & Amorites with Greek, Roman, & Jewish minorities. The main languages spoken were Aramaic & Greek in the Palmyrene alphabet.
Palmyra was at one point one of the greatest civilizations in the world. It’s an immensely important cultural & historical site not just for Syrians but for humanity as a whole.
“Palmyra is an archaeological global city & the international community has a responsibility to keep its artefacts in Palmyra where it belongs & defend it against ISIS” - Maamnoun Abdulkarim, director-general of the Syrian directorate of antiquities & museums
The city was seized by ISIS on May 20th 2015, they have pledged to destroy the city & all its historical sites & heritage. Unless the city is quickly retaken from ISIS it will be destroyed just like the Assyrian/Mesopotamian/Babylonian artefacts & ancient sites in Iraq!
“Damage to the heritage of a country is damage to the soul of its people and its identity” - Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO
Is saving priceless antiquity as important as saving people?
Do ancient ruins matter compared with human lives? That is the painful question whenever an archaeological site comes under threat from the hammers and bulldozers of the terrorist army Islamic State. It is becoming a depressingly familiar scenario. IS gets its hands on one of the world cultural treasures in which Syria and Iraq are so rich. Western intellectuals bleat about the loss to civilisation as the iconoclasts set about their brutal work. Boris Johnson goes full Churchillian.
But when the dust settles – literally – over razed monuments, for many people that question remains. So what? It is tragic when ruins vanish, but surely not as tragic as the loss of a single actual living person. How can you cry for stones when children are dying? Read more.