The Levant News Exculsive -Damascus- Islamic State militants have destroyed the Arch of Triumph in the ancient city of Palmyra, a monument that dates back to the Roman empire . Maamoun Abdulkarim, Syria’s chief of antiquities, said sources in the city, which was conquered by Isis after a week-long siege in May, had informed him the arch was destroyed on Sunday in the latest act of vandalism and “cultural cleansing” against Syria’s cultural heritage perpetrated by Isis. “It’s a crime in every sense of the word,” he said in a telephone interview from Damascus. “All we can do is share the sadness.”
He said the majority of Palmyra’s monuments could be destroyed if the international community and forces on the ground in Syria did not act. “Liberating Palmyra is an immediate necessity,” Abdulkarim told The Guardian a telephone interview from Damascus.. “The international community must find a solution to liberate it.
Isis has destroyed numerous cultural artefacts and monuments of historic significance in its rampage across Iraq and Syria. In addition to the destruction in Palmyra, it has blown up Christian and Shia shrines and houses of worship in both countries. It also burned and destroyed centuries-old Assyrian and Akkadian artefacts in Nineveh, releasing high-production-value imagery and videography of its atrocities.
Experts say the group revels in the destruction as it highlights its ability to operate with impunity and it shows the powerlessness of the international community to put a halt to its actions. Isis also profits from illicitly selling artefacts it loots from ancient sites.
IS militants captured the historic site from Syrian government troops in May, amid a series of setbacks for forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Still, members of the US-led coalition that has also been carrying out air strikes in Syria have strongly criticised the move of Russian aritstri.
Editing by Diana Kasem