Iraq urges help to protect ancient sites against ISIL

Arab World Materials 8 March 2015 23:22 (UTC +04:00)

Iraq's tourism and antiquities minister has requested that the US-led coalition purporting to fight ISIL provide increased aerial support to save world heritage sites against destruction at the hands of the Takfiri ISIL terrorists, Press TV reported.

Adel Fahd al-Shershab told journalists in the capital, Baghdad, that the international community must draw on all its means to save Iraq's ancient heritage sites facing the threat of destruction by the terrorists.

"What I request from the international community and the international coalition is to carry out air strikes against terrorism wherever it is found," al-Shershab said.

ISIL extremists recently destroyed ancient artifacts dating back thousands of years, showcased at the archeological museum in the Iraqi city of Mosul, saying the ancient works of art were idolatrous.

ISIL militants also recently razed the ancient city of Nimrud, another historical site, in Iraq with bulldozers. Reports say the group has now targeted the 2,000-year-old fortress city of Hatra, which is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Shershab, the Iraqi minister, said ISIL's claim that the sites and artifacts are idolatrous is merely for propaganda purposes, and, in reality, they are selling some of the stolen artifacts to international smugglers to finance their atrocities in the region.

Since starting their campaign of terror in Iraq, ISIL militants have carried out numerous heinous atrocities in the areas under their control, both in Iraq and Syria, leaving a trail of death and destruction wherever they set foot.

The atrocities include not only destroying ancient sites, but also murdering civilians of all ethnic and religious backgrounds and enslaving their women and children and forcing them into sexual slavery.

In addition, ISIL terrorists have beheaded many hostages, killed numerous individuals in summary executions and burned others alive.

Since its inception, ISIL has received all-out military, political and financial support by the West, led by the US, and Washington's regional allies including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait.

However, the group's Western patrons altered their policy toward ISIL after it turned against their interests, including by killing several Western hostages.

Nearly a year ago, the Takfiri group spread its terror campaign from Syria into neighboring Iraq, capturing large swathes of land in the west and north of Iraq. ISIL's brutal crimes have forced millions of people in Syria and Iraq to flee their homes resulting in one of the largest humanitarian crisis of recent history.