ISIS has denounced most aspects of modern society, including socially and morally acceptable behaviours, but it has adopted social media to further its reach. Because to hell with free speech, but Twitter is A-Okay.
In doing so, they have boasted to the entire world of successes such as decapitation, kidnapping and the destruction of ancient artefacts and architecture.
On Sunday they blew up the Arch of Triumph, said to be a jewel in the oasis city of Palmyra in Syria, as well as temples at the UNESCO World Heritage site of the 2,000 year old Roman-era city.
Their destructive aim of ‘cultural cleansing’, i.e. obliterating anything and anyone that idolizes other gods or religions, has robbed humankind of history. It wasn’t their first. Here are some other ancient sites they have wrecked.
Images: Rex and Getty
Temple of Bel, Palmyra, Syria
Built in 32 AD, the temple stood in fairly good condition for almost 2,000 years. Until August 2015. It was regarded as one of the most important religious buildings of the 1st Century AD in the East.
Image of before and after.
Armenian Genocide Martyrs' Memorial, Deir ez-Zor, Syria
During the Armenian Genocide of 1.5m people in 1915 by the Ottoman Empire, people were made to march to their death, whether that was in the desert or at the final destination of Der ez-Zor. The memorial which was built for all those who lost their lives had human remains at the base of the structure. Nevertheless, ISIS destroyed it.
Saint Ahudemmeh Church, Tikrit, Iraq
One of the oldest Syriac churches in the world, it has suffered through the ages, having been rebuilt numerous times. ISIS has wrecked it once again.
Tower tombs, Palmyra, Syria
At the beginning of September, ISIS demolished three of the best preserved ancient tomb towers in Palmyra, as well as beheaded an archaeologist who was working on the site at the time.
Mosque of the Prophet Yunus, Mosul, Iraq
Thought to be the burial site of Jonah (the guy in the Bible who was swallowed by a whale), ISIS stormed the mosque, emptied it of worshipers and blew it up. The reasoning, and we use the term loosely, was that “the mosque had become a place for apostasy, not prayer.”
Bash Tapia Castle, Mosul, Iraq
Dating from the 12th century, one of the seven castles that form a wall around Mosul was destroyed by ISIS. Despite having absolutely nothing that could lead you to believe it had any religious meaning.
Temple of Baalshamin, Palmyra, Syria
Representing Greek and Syrian architecture, ISIS issued a statement promising not to destroy it. They did anyway and the UN described the act as a war crime.
The ancient Assyrian city had numerous inscriptions from the time period of 1250 BC and 610 BC which gave historians an insight into the lives of the people who once lived there. ISIS deemed it ‘un-Islamic’.
Lion of Al-lāt, Palmyra, Syria
The Lion of Al- lāt stood at the temple of the pre-Islamic Arabian goddess Al-lāt, weighing over 15 tonnes. It had made it through the civil war in Syria until ISIS stormed the area.
A frontier city of the Parthian Empire, Hatra stood from the 2nd or 3rd century and survived attacks from the Roman Empire and conquering from the Sasanian Empire. Aside from featuring in the opening of The Exorcist, it was also regarded as one of Iraq’s most impressive archaeological sites.
Mosul Museum, Iraq
The second largest museum in Iraq suffered at the hands off ISIS. The extremists pulled statues down, smashing them on the ground and took sledgehammers to artefacts. While most of the museum’s collections had been transferred to Baghdad prior to ISIS’ occupations, what was left was demolished.