IS blows up Mosul mosque, latest heritage site destroyed

BAGHDAD (AP) — The Islamic State group’s destruction of a 12th century mosque and its iconic leaning minaret in the Iraqi city of Mosul is only the latest in a long list of priceless archaeological and other cultural sites that the militants have ravaged.

Here’s a look at some of the major sites destroyed by IS in Iraq and Syria, and others under their control:

AL-NURI MOSQUE

Mosul’s al-Nuri mosque was built during the Seljuk Empire by Nur Al-Deen Zengi (1118-1174), a ruler from the Turkish Zengid dynasty. He reigned from 1146 to 1174 and at that time Mosul was under his control.

The mosque, which is also called as The Grand Mosque, is known of its 56-meter high leaning minaret, resembling the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

When the Islamic State group rampaged across western and northern Iraq and pushed into Mosul in the summer of 2014, the city’s residents saved the minaret by forming a human chain around it when IS fighters initially came to blow it up.

The mosque is also where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivered a Friday sermon in July 2014, declaring the militant group’s self-styled “caliphate” after IS swept and captured large chunks of territory that summer in both Iraq and Syria

ST. ELIAN

The 1,500-year-old monastery in the Homs province of central Syria was destroyed by the Islamic State group in August 2015. The militant group released images showing the demolition of parts of the monastery near the town of Qaryatain with bulldozers.

PALMYRA

Syria’s historic town of Palmyra — home to one of the Middle East’s most spectacular archaeological sites, — has changed hands between Syrian government forces and the Islamic State group four times in the past two years.

During the first time they controlled Palmyra, IS militants destroyed the Temple of Bel, which dated back to A.D. 32, and the Temple of Baalshamin, a structure of stone blocks several stories high fronted by six towering columns. The militants also blew up the Arch of Triumph, which had been…

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