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Published on : Thursday, May 21, 2015
Meanwhile, Syrian government forces reportedly have retreated to the city’s security headquarters, and clashes with ISIS are ongoing. Militants controlled most of the city by the evening and had taken over Tadmur’s prison, the observatory said.
Palmyra’s centuries-old remains of temples and other structures are a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Homs countryside northeast of Damascus. In Damascus state TV have acknowledged that government forces had withdrawn from the city.
United Nations and Syrian officials have expressed fears that ISIS aims to destroy the ruins, just as it bulldozed the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud and took sledgehammers to statues in Iraq’s Mosul Museum. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said she was deeply concerned about reports of the battles.
The ISIS now controls parts of Syria and Iraq after campaigns of violence and barbarity, slaughtering not only those who fight them but also conquering civilians who don’t adhere to their extreme brand of Islam. Along with conquering territories, it has destroyed archaeological sites, claiming that it considers all religious shrines idolatrous.
ISIS claims in its propaganda that they destroy idols or false gods and following in the footsteps of the Prophet Mohammed, who smashed statues in Mecca.