بعد المذبحة"داعش" يسيطر على مدينة تدمر التاريخية وواشنطن تعترف بالانتكاسة

رئيس التحرير
2019.06.25 07:14

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أعترفت الولايات المتحدة إن انتصار تنظيم الدولة الاسلامية في تدمر والرمادي يعد انتكاسة لجهود محاربة التنظيم.

إلا أن الرئيس أوباما اصر على أن الولايات المتحدة لم تخسر الحرب ضد التنظيم. ووعد أوباما بتقديم المزيد من الدعم للقوات العراقية وقال إن الولايات المتحدة سترفع من برامجها التدريبية في المناطق السنية.

يأتي تصريح أوباما بعد يوم واحد من سقوط تدمر السورية الاثرية التاريخية في أيدي التنظيم

ودخل مسلحو تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية المواقع الأثرية في مدينة تدمر، عقب سيطرتهم على المدينة من أيدي قوات الحكومة السورية الأربعاء، بحسب ما يقوله المرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان.

ولكن المرصد يقول إنه ليس هناك أي دليل على أن المسلحين أخذوا في تدمير المعالم والمباني الأثرية التي ترجع إلى العهد الروماني في المدينة، كما فعلوا في مدن تاريخية أخرى استولوا عليها في العراق المجاور.

في هذه الأثناء، دعت المديرة العامة لليونسكو، إيرينا بوكوفا إلى إنهاء الأعمال العدائية في تدمر فوراً عقب ورود تقارير عن دخول مسلحي تنظيم الدولة لموقع التراث العالمي.

وقالت إيرينا بوكوفا "أشعر بقلق عميق إزاء الوضع في موقع تدمر. يشكل القتال خطراً على أحد أهم المواقع في الشرق الأوسط وعلى سكانها المدنيين".

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وأكد تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية أنه يسيطر الآن على مدينة تدمر بالكامل، عقب "انهيار" القوات الحكومية هناك، بحسب بيان نشره التنظيم على موقع تويتر.

وجاء في البيان أن القوات السورية المنسحبة "خلفت أعدادا كبيرة من القتلى"، ملأت جثثهم ميادين المدينة.

وقال التنظيم إن أكثر من 100 من المقاتلين الموالين للحكومة قتلوا في المدينة وحولها خلال الاشتباكات التي دارت ليلا مع المسلحين.

وقال المسلحون إنهم سيطروا أيضا على قاعدة تدمر الجوية، ومقر الاستخبارات، والسجن العسكري السيئ السمعة، الذي يرمز - بالنسبة لكثير من السوريين - إلى المدينة أكثر من آثارها.

ويقول السكان إن المسلحين يقطعون رأس أشخاصا في الشوارع أثناء بحثهم عن المقاتلين الموالين للحكومة.

وقال التليفزيون الرسمي السوري إن قوات الجيش السوري انسحبت بالفعل من المدينة. وأضاف أن معظم سكان المدينة قد أخلوا منها.

وتتمتع المدينة، الواقعة في محافظة حمص وسط سوريا، بموقع استراتيجي مهم لأنها تربط شرق سوريا بغربها.

كما أن السيطرة عليها يقرب تنظيم "الدولة الإسلامية" من العاصمة دمشق.

مخاوف

وهناك مخاوف متزايدة من أخطار بالغة تهدد المدينة، أحد أعظم المواقع الآثرية في الشرق الأوسط.

ونقل عن مسؤول المتاحف والآثار في سوريا قوله إن مئات من القطع الأُثرية الثمينة قد نقل من متحف في تدمر إلى أماكن آمنة.

غير أنه أشار إلى صعوبة نقل عدد كبير من آثار تدمر.

وقال عمر حمزة، وهو ناشط سوري من تدمر، لبي بي سي إن المدينة "دُكت بكثافة بالغة" من جانب تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية وقوات الحكومة السورية.

وأضاف "هناك مواجهات غاية في العنف شرق المدينة."

ويشير حمزة إلى أن "معظم الآثار التاريخية القيمة يوجد في جنوب المدينة. وتقع هذه الآثار بين المدينة والأراضي الزراعية التي يسيطر عليها تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية، الذي قصف المنطقة دون أي التفات لأهمية حماية الآثار."

"معركة العالم كله"

وقال مأمون عبد الكريم، مسؤول الآثار في سوريا "هذه معركة العالم كله".

ودعا قوات التحالف بقيادة الولايات المتحدة إلى منع تنظيم الدولة من تدمير هذا الموقع الأثري.

وكان تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية قد شن في 13 مايو/أيار هجوما على تدمر التي تتمتع بموقع جغرافي استراتيجي بالنسبة إليه، إذ تفتح له الطريق نحو البادية المتصلة بمحافظة الأنبار العراقية.

كما أنها مهمة من الناحية الدعائية، لأنها محط أنظار العالم بسبب آثارها المدرجة على لائحة التراث العالمي.

وتعرف هذه الآثار بأعمدتها الرومانية ومعابدها ومدافنها الملكية المزخرفة.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

سيطر تنظيم "الدولة الإسلامية" على مدينة تدمر السورية بالكامل، بما في ذلك على مناطقها الأثرية، حسب ما أفاد نشطاء سوريون، الخميس 21 مايو/أيار.

وأكد النشطاء أن التنظيم سيطر على القاعدة الجوية والسجن ومقر الاستخبارات بعد أن اجتاح المدينة الأربعاء 20 مايو/أيار، مشيرين إلى أن الاشتباكات العنيفة أسفرت عن مقتل أكثر من مئة من المقاتلين الموالين للحكومة.

وأفاد النشطاء أنه لم ترد حتى الآن أي أنباء عن عمليات تدمير لآثار تدمر التاريخية.

RT إنفوجرافيك: مدينة تدمر التاريخية أصبحت هدفا لتنظيم "داعش"

وكان التلفزيون السوري قال، الأربعاء 20 مايو/ أيار، إن القوات الحكومية أجلت المواطنين من تدمر وانسحبت من المدينة بعد دخول مجموعات كبيرة من مسلحي تنظيم "الدولة الاسلامية" إلى هناك.

وتأتي عملية الإجلاء بعد اشتباكات عنيفة داخل وحول المدينة المدرجة على لائحة التراث العالمي لمنظمة الأمم المتحدة للتربية والعلم والثقافة "اليونيسكو"، كما أنها تتمتع بموقع استراتيجي من الناحية العسكرية إذ تربطها طرق سريعة بمدينتي حمص ودمشق.

وتتزايد المخاوف من أن يلقى الإرث التاريخي للمدينة نفس المصير الذي شهدته مدن تاريخية عراقية.

مصادر لـ RT: عناصر "داعش" يتجولون وسط تدمر في سوريا

وكانت مصادر في المعارضة السورية قالت  لـ RT  إن تنظيم "الدولة الإسلامية" تمكن من دخول مدينة تدمر بريف حمص الشرقي من مدخلها الشمالي.

وأشار المصدر إلى أن عناصر التنظيم سيطروا على فرع أمن الدولة ومديرية المنطقة ومدرسة أذينة والفرن الآلي. وبحسب المصادر فإن عناصر التنظيم يتجولون في الحي الأوسط بالقرب من الساحة العامة وسط المدينة.

وأكد شهود عيان أن اشتباكات عنيفة تدور منذ الثلاثاء عند الأطراف الشمالية لمدينة تدمر رافقها قصف متبادل بقذائف الهاون والمدفعية ونزوح عدد كبير من سكان الأحياء التي تجري فيها الاشتباكات إلى أحياء أخرى مشيرين إلى نقص في الماء والكهرباء.

من جانب آخر قال شهود عيان إن 22 مدنيا قتلوا في قصف على بلدة دركوش في ريف إدلب بعد أنباء عن فقدان الحكومة السورية السيطرة على معسكر المسطومة هناك.
وتسببت قذيفة أطلقها مقاتلون مسلحون على مدرسة في حي المالكي بمقتل مدرسة وإصابة 22 طالبا بجروح.

RT الجيش السوري يتقدم في القلمون

وكان تنظيم "داعش" قد بدأ هجوما على مدينة تدمر منذ الـ 13 من مايو/أيار للسيطرة عليها الأمر الذي يفتح الطريق له نحو الصحراء المتصلة بمحافظة الأنبار العراقية وبالتالي إيجاد تواصل جغرافي بين الأراضي السورية والعراقية الذي من شأنه أن يساعد التنظيم على كسب إمدادات جديدة.
يذكر أن مدينة تدمر تضم آثارا مدرجة على لائحة التراث العالمي. وأعربت منظمة اليونيسكو عن قلقها إزاء اقتراب "داعش".

تعليق مراسلنا في دمشق

تقدم للجيش في معارك القلمون وتكثيف القصف على حلب

من جانب آخر، أفادت الوكالة السورية للأنباء "سانا" بتقدم قوات الجيش السوري بالتعاون مع مقاتلي حزب الله في ملاحقتها للتنظيمات المسلحة بإحكامها السيطرة على تلال جديدة في منطقة القلمون بريف دمشق.

في هذه الأثناء نقلت الوكالة عن مصدر عسكري أن وحدات الجيش نفذت عمليات دقيقة على مراكز تجمع المسلحين في أحياء الزبدية والسكري وباب النيرب والمشهد في مدينة حلب.

وأكد المصدر أن العمليات حققت أهدافها المحددة بدقة وأسفرت عن مقتل العديد من أفراد تابعين لتنظيم "جبهة النصرة".

From the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel to the magnificent Tomb of the Three Brothers: The ancient wonders inside Palmyra that ISIS will destroy or sell for millions to fund their evil empire Stunning ruins now in clutches of jihadists after fierce overnight clashes City is architectural jewel of Middle East and crossroads of ancient world List of wonders includes world-renowned funerary sculptures and statues Appears inevitable ISIS will desecrate it as they did ancient sites in Iraq

 

An array of magnificent treasures from one of the ancient worlds most important cultural centres stand to be destroyed or sold to fund the evil empire of ISIS.  

The stunning ancient ruins of Palmyra in Syria are now reportedly in the clutches of jihadists after pro-government forces withdrew and 100 fighters were killed in overnight clashes and left beheaded bodies lying in the streets.

ISIS first threatened to take the city, an architectural jewel of the Middle East, a week ago when clashes with forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad took place barely a mile from its gates. 

But now the world is having to face the full horror of what having the terrorists in control of the UNESCO World Heritage site is going to mean for this remarkable crossroads of the ancient world.

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Grave threat: ISIS now have control of the ancient city of Palmyra and it appears inevitable they will loot and destroy this architectural jewel of the Middle East 

Seized: Smoke rises over Palmyra as Islamic State take full control of the city after violent clashes with pro-government forces

ISIS claim to have seized part of World Heritage-listed Palmyra
 

An oasis in the Syrian desert 150 miles north-east of the capital Damascus, Palmyra was once a great city at the confluence of several civilizations, its architecture marrying Greco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences. 

First spoken of in the 2nd millennium BC, it was an established caravan oasis when it came under Roman control in the middle of the first century AD as part of what was then the Roman province of Syria.

Palmyra grew steadily in importance as a city on the trade route linking Persia, India and China with the Roman Empire.

According to UNESCO, it offers the consummate example of an ancient urbanized complex, with its grand colonnaded street of 1,100 metres in length forming the monumental axis of the city.

Palmyras other outstanding features are its magnificent temples of Baal and Bel, the Camp of Diocletian Roman military complex and its imposing triumphal arch at the entrance of the main street.

The city is particularly well known for its unique funerary sculptures and statues - special because they combine Greco-Roman forms with local elements and Persian influences in a highly original style. 

Prime spot: The ancient city of Palmyra stood on a caravan route at the crossroads of several civilisations but is now under the control of barbaric ISIS

On the march: ISIS has now overrun Palmyra having initially been beaten back from the residential northern areas of the city

British historian and novelist Tom Holland told CNN the site has an extraordinary fusion of classical and Iranian influences intermixed with various Arab influence as well. 

He added: This isnt just about Middle Eastern history, these are the wellsprings of the entire global culture. 

Mesopotamia, Iraq, Syria, this is the wellspring of global civilization. It really couldnt be higher stakes in terms of conservation.

Syrias antiquities chief Mamoun Abdulkarim claims hundreds of statues and artefacts from Palmyras museum have been transferred out of the city.

Activists said the regime had transported some of the artefacts to Damascus and Hama, but most of the city’s wealth of antiquities is either too heavy to carry or consists of ancient buildings. 

Some may also have been hidden by a band of Monuments Men made up of local archaeologists and enthusiasts set up to protect what they can of the citys treasures and thousands of others at risk across Syria. 

But many others, including the dozens of massive tombs at the site, are simply too big to be moved, while there are treasures yet to be excavated which ISIS may simply dig up and loot.    

Philistine: An Islamic State militant smashes relics in Nimrud, Iraq, an Assyrian city dating back to the 13th century

Despicable: An Isis thug destroys a priceless decorative wall in Hatra. The militants smashed much of what they couldnt loot and sell

Brutal: ISIS extremists used power drills and sledge hammers to destroy artefacts in Mosuls central museum

ISIS barbarically obliterate the ancient ruins of Nimrud in Iraq
 

The group infamously destroyed much of the ancient Iraqi cities of Hatra and Nimrud, ransacked Mosuls central museum and bulldozed an entire Shiite shrine in the Syrian city of Raqqa.

ISIS regard all pre-Islamic relics as undermining their faith and those depicting human forms as idolatrous.

But as well as ruining sites, the militants have made many millions from selling artefacts or taxing the looters and diggers who make money smuggling them over the Syrian and Iraqi borders to buyers abroad. 

Last year, an Iraqi intelligence official claimed ISIS had made as much as $36million from looting a single area around al-Nabek, a Syrian city that contains several early Christian sites.

It is impossible to tell how much they could make from Palmyra according to Amr Al Azm, an associate professor of Middle East history and anthropology at Shawnee State University in Ohio and an expert of Syrian antiquities.

But given the al-Nabek figure and the treasures which could still be at Palmyra, intensive looting of the site is likely to net ISIS millions, he told MailOnline.

The funds will then be used to buy more weapons and supplies and fuel the growth of the groups so-called caliphate.

The ancient treasures of Palmyra under threat from ISIS 

TEMPLE OF BEL: UNIQUE CENTRE OF RELIGIOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT PALMYRA

Dedicated in 32 AD, the Temple of Bel ranks among the most important buildings in the ancient world. 

It encapsulates much of Palmyra’s history and culture and occupies one of the oldest and most important religious sites in the Middle East.

Its architecture, blending eastern and western influences, reflects Palmyra’s multi-centered culture rooted in the traditions of both the ancient Mediterranean and Orient.

Unique: The great columns at the Temple of Bel at Palmyra, which blends both eastern and western influences

According to David Amott and Dr Cynthia Finlayson at the Department of Art History at Brigham Young University in Utah, the ancient Palmyrenes made Temple Bel a unique sanctuary that both reflected the city’s heritage and honored the principle God of their pantheon.

The temple also helped to foster unity within the city itself by creating a central meeting place to gather Palmyra’s many tribes together for civic and religious purposes. 

It includes a large and complex outer wall called a Temanose, an inner sanctuary or cella, a sacrificial alter and ramp, imitating the layout used at many Mesopotamian and Semitic shrines. 

Ornate: Detail of the thalamos ceiling at the Temple of Bel, which honors the most important of the Palmyrene gods

Bel the ruler of the heavens, the protector of caravans, and the god of fertility and human destiny, was considered to be the most important of Palmyrene gods.

Thought to trace back to the Babylonian god Tammuz who symbolized death and rebirth in nature, Bel was often compared to Zeus or Jupiter as Greco-Roman influences grew at Palmyra.

Professor Al Azm says the temple could be the poster child for ISIS to destroy as it is impossible to break up and sell its many fine features.

Funerary sculptures and statues   

In Palmyra, funerary sculpture was the dominant form, coming from any of the several tombs that surrounded the city. 

Such sculptures were placed in the tombs, or house[s] of eternity, as the Palmyrenes called them. 

Mummified bodies were laid on rectangular shelves and sealed off by a sculpture depicting the deceased. 

Stunning: A funerary bust of a Palmyrean woman in Tomb H in the southeast necropolis of Palmyra (left), and a funerary stele showing an offering-bearer with a Parthian dress stored in the Museum of Palmyra (right)

The sculptures served to close off the burial niches in the wall of the tomb, each sculpture representing a person deceased, often mentioned by name in Aramese inscriptions.

The men usually wear Roman garb, whereas the women are dressed in local, eastern robes. 

Many of the sculptures and statues are already stored in museums around the world but those which havent been removed to safety from Palmyra could be major money-spinners for ISIS, worth tens of thousands depending on how well they are preserved, according to Professor Al Azm.   

TEMPLE OF BAAL SHAMIN: MONUMENT TO THE PHOENICIAN GOD OF STORMS

Dedicated in 131 AD the temple of Baal Shamin has been called Palmyras most significant surviving temple other than that of Bel. 

Along with Bel, Baal Shamin was one of the two supreme gods and the sky god of pre-Islamic Palmyra.

He was the Phoenician god of storms and fertilising rains and the Temple of Baal Shamin is all that remains of a much larger compound. 

Special: Of the roughly 50 temples at Palmyra, the Temple of Baal Shamin is the most significant apart from that of Bel

Priceless: A Marble altar depicting the Goddess Allat with a lion from the Temple of Baal Shamin

The small shrine stands alone 200m north of the main colonnaded street in what was a residential area of the ancient city. 

Baal Shamin was an import, like Bel, who only really gained popularity in Palmyra when Roman influence was at its height.

Fronting the temple, the six columns of the vestibule have platforms for statues, and carry inscriptions.  

The column on the far left has an inscription in Greek and Palmyrene that praises the secretary of the city for his generosity during the imperial visit of the divine Hadrian and for footing the bill for the temples construction.

The frescoes at the Hypogeum Of The Three Brothers  

The word Hypogeum literally means underground goddess of earth and usually refers to a subterranean temple or tomb.

This example is an underground family burial chamber and the door is approached down a long, modern ramp and is ornately carved.

Inscriptions record that it was established by the three brothers, Male, Saadai and Naamain in the middle of the second century AD. 

Beautifully preserved: The frescoes at the Hypogeum Of The Three Brothers retain much of their oirginal colour

Remarkable: A close-up of one of the frescoes at the hypogeum, established by the three brothers, Male, Saadai and Naamain in the middle of the second century AD

There are three arms radiating from a focal point by the door, each with recesses on either side in which were placed six loculi. 

There are 65 recesses in all, providing accommodation for generations of the family.  

Some of the painted plaster frescoes portray the story of the Abduction of Ganymede, a favourite theme in Hellenistic times.

The colouring has survived incredibly well and the state of the frescoes is remarkably good. 

There is another series in the Greco-Syrian style dating from the early third century AD, which once again shows the blending of Hellenistic and Oriental styles which mark Palmyra out. 

THE TRIUMPHAL ARCH CELEBRATING ROMAN EMPERORS VICTORY IN WAR

The monumental arch across the main street of Palmyra became the symbol of the city as soon as the first illustrations of its ruins were published in England in 1753.

The arch was built at the time of Emperor Septimius Severus, probably to celebrate the emperors victories over the Parthians. 

An unusual aspect of the arch is that it was designed in order to minimize the effect of a 30 degree angle in the long colonnaded street which crossed the town. 

Victory: The Triumphal Arch at Palmyra was likely built to celebrate the victory of Emperor Septimius Severus defeat of the Parthians

The lateral arches were duplicated and given a different orientation so that overall the arch seems to be perfectly perpendicular to the street on both sides. 

It has an elaborate decoration, typical of that period, and similar to that which can be seen at Leptis Magna, the birthplace of the emperor. 

The construction of the main colonnaded street, as well as of many other monuments of Palmyra, was financed by donations from its wealthiest citizens either individually or collectively. 

In return the donors were allowed to place a small statue of themselves on a pedestal placed at two thirds of the height of the columns.

Diocletians Camp: A turning point in the history of Palmyra

This camp, dating from the late third to early fourth century AD, was built by Sosianus Hierocles, Governor of Syria under the emperor Diocletian (AD 284-305) in the period following the defeat of Zenobia (see below).

It reflects Palmyras change in status from a powerful and largely independent trading city to a military outpost of the Roman Empire.

Following the Roman reconquest, the city was re-fortified with a new set of city walls enclosing a much smaller area.

Symbol of defeat: Diocletians Camp reflects Palmyras change in status from a powerful and largely independent trading city to a military outpost of the Roman Empire

It lost its former importance as a semi—independent trading centre, instead becoming a key military outpost, reflected in Palmyras virtual disappearance from historical literature.

The area known today as the Camp of Diocletian was a group of buildings that spanned an area of four hectares (9.9 acres) in an enclosure in the western end of the city.

It was built on a hill separated from the town proper by a small wall. The hill was located at the far end of the citys Grand Colonnade from the Temple of Bel. 

The complex was designed and built between 293 and 305 CE and may have contained barrack rooms for soldiers. 

HISTORY OF PALMYRA AND THE REBELLIOUS QUEEN WHO DEFIED ROME 

Palmyra was once the seat of Queen Zenobia, who ruled over the Palmyrene empire in the 3rd century.

She expanded its reach, conquering, expelling and then beheading the Roman prefect in Egypt.

Zenobia ruled over Egypt until 271, when she was defeated and taken as a hostage to Rome by Emperor Aurelian.

Rebellious: Queen Zenobia Addressing Her Soldiers by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. The Palmyrene queen led a rebellion against the Romans

The queen claimed descent from the Macedonian kings of Egypt and was a descendent of Cleopatra. 

Palmyrene statues and reliefs on civic buildings and in tombs, depict women sporting distinctive hairstyles, clothing and jewellery. 

The city was a staging post along the Silk Road for camel caravans plying between Antioch on the Mediterranean and Doura Europos on the Euphrates. 

The slaughter of Palmyras citizens begins: First images emerge from Syrian city over-run by ISIS... and show rows of people beheaded as terror group celebrates freeing Islamists from state prison  WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT  Jihadis have entered 2,000-year-old ruins but no reports of destruction yet Seized air base, spy HQ and claimed to have liberated hundreds prisoners  First time ISIS has claimed city directly from Syrian army and allied forces Terror group now controls HALF of all territory in the war-torn country 

 

Shocking images emerged today showing decapitated bodies strewn across blood-filled streets in Palmyra – victims of the Islamic States unrelenting savagery as they stormed the ancient city.

The terror group have now seized full control of the historic settlement, putting the world heritage site and its priceless 2,000-year-old artefacts at risk of destruction.

The jihadis have also captured the military air base, intelligence headquarters and its notorious prison, where hundreds of inmates have reportedly been liberated.

British-based monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), said ISIS now controlled half of all territory in the war-torn country.

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Seized: Smoke rises over the ancient ruins of Palmyra as the Islamic State takes full control of the city after violent clashes with pro-government forces, the first time it has claimed a city from President Assads regime

Butchered: Horrific images posted online show decapitated bodies strewn across a street, victims of the terror groups unrelenting savagery as they rampaged through the city

Jail break: This picture shared on several pro-ISIS Twitter account claims to show prisoners celebrating with their liberators after being freed from the notorious Tadmur prison by ISIS fighters in the city of Palmyra

Pro-government forces beat a hasty retreat late last night after 100 fighters were slaughtered in violent clashes in just a few hours.

It is the first time ISIS has claimed a city directly from the Syrian army and allied forces, which have already lost ground in the northwest and south to other insurgent groups in recent weeks.  

Beibares Tellawi, an activist in Homs province, said the militants had reached Tadmur prison, where thousands of Syrian dissidents have been imprisoned and tortured over the years.

The fate of the prisoners was not immediately known, although pro-ISIS Twitter accounts shared a image claiming to show inmates celebrating with militants after being set free. 

The jihadis have also seized control of the Jazl oil field in the Homs countryside.

Government war planes responded by carrying out air strikes on ISIS positions in the city.  

Rami Abdulrahman, the head of SOHR, who bases his information on a network of sources on the ground, said there were so far no reports of destruction of the citys historic artefacts. 

The city is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site, including ancient temples and colonnaded streets, which previously attracted thousands of tourists.  

ISIS claim to have seized part of World Heritage-listed Palmyra
 

Driven out: Pro-government forces have withdrawn after 100 fighters were killed in clashes overnight

Syrian state TV said pro-government forces managed to secure safe exit for most of the civilian population

Syrias antiquities chief said previously the insurgents would destroy ancient ruins if they took control of it. 

He said the group was in control of a hospital in the city which Syrian forces had used as a base before withdrawing.  

The situation is very bad, Syrias antiquities chief, Mamoun Abdulkarim, said after ISIS captured a northern section of the city earlier in the day.

If only five members of ISIS go into the ancient buildings, theyll destroy everything, he added, calling for international action to save the city.  

Syrian state TV reported that pro-government forces had managed to secure safe exit for most of the civilian population. 

The jihadists sparked international outrage this year when they blew up the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud and smashed artefacts in the museum of Mosul, both in Iraq. 

Archaeological jewel: The city is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site and Syrias antiquities chief has said the insurgents would destroy ancient ruins if they took control of it

Under threat: Hundreds of statues and artefacts from Palmyras museum have been transferred out of the city

Hundreds of statues and artefacts from Palmyras museum have been transferred out of the city, according to Abdulkarim, but many others – including massive tombs – could not be moved. 

News of Palmyras fall came after a State Department official said the weekend loss of Ramadi had prompted the U.S take an extremely hard look at its strategy to confront the extremists.

The fall of Ramadi, their most significant victory since mid-2014 when they conquered swathes of land, sparked a US-led air campaign to support Baghdad. 

On Wednesday, the Anbar police chief was dismissed, after video footage emerged online suggesting security personnel deserted their posts at the height of the ISIS offensive. 

 

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