SAVAGES: ISIS beheads 81-year-old archeologist outside museum in ancient Syrian city of Palmyra
DAMASCUS, Syria — The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant beheaded one of Syria’s most prominent antiquities scholars in the ancient town of Palmyra, then hung his body from one of the town’s Roman columns, Syrian state media and an activist group said Wednesday.
The killing of 81-year-old Khaled al-Asaad was the latest atrocity perpetrated by the militant group, which has captured a third of both Syria and neighbouring Iraq and declared a self-styled “caliphate” on the territory it controls.
Since ISIL overran Palmyra in May, there have been fears the extremists, who have destroyed famed archaeological sites in Iraq, would demolish the 2,000-year-old Roman-era city at the edge of the town — a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the Mideast’s most spectacular archaeological sites.
The Sunni extremist group, which has imposed a violent interpretation of Islamic law, or Shariah, believes ancient relics promote idolatry. ISIL militants claim they are destroying ancient artifacts and archaeological treasures as part of their purge of paganism. The destruction ISIL has wreaked adds to the wider, extensive damage it has inflicted on ancient sites, including mosques and churches across Syria and Iraq.
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