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CRIME AND CRIMINALS: MURDER HOMICIDE : TERRORISM : BARBARISM : COUNTRIES: SYRIA: Islamic State's Killing of Revered Syrian Archeologist Raises Fears for Fate of Artifacts


David P. Dillard
 

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CRIME AND CRIMINALS: MURDER HOMICIDE : TERRORISM : BARBARISM :

COUNTRIES: SYRIA:

Islamic State's Killing of Revered Syrian Archeologist
Raises Fears for Fate of Artifacts

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Islamic State's Killing of Revered Syrian Archeologist
Raises Fears for Fate of Artifacts

ERIC ANDREW-GEE

The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015 3:26AM EDT

Last updated Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015 5:41AM EDT

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/islamic-state-beheads-
syrian-antiquities-scholar-in-ancient-town-of-palmyra/article26013324/

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/o7efgfm

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The Roman columns that rise out of the desert in Palmyra were worth a lifetime of study to Khaled al-Asaad, who was born in the Syrian city and spent his career preserving it. For different reasons, the ruins have also exercised a strong pull on the Islamic State: The terrorist group abhors its artifacts as symbols of Western imperialism and idolatry.

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These competing visions for the ancient settlement culminated in Mr. al-Asaads death on Tuesday, as Islamic State militants beheaded the retired octogenarian scholar after three weeks in captivity and hung his body from a pole.

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When the Islamic State overran the town in May, many feared the militants would set about destroying the UNESCO World Heritage Site as they have other monuments from antiquity. Now, with a flair for murderous stagecraft the group has shown many times before, it has killed a man so important to the place he was known as Mr. Palmyra.

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The brutal execution comes as the Islamic State seeks to impose its own violent interpretation of Islamic law on the swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq that it now controls. Its regime in these countries has included a campaign to eradicate so-called paganism, as well as widespread destruction and theft of archeological treasures.

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Mr. al-Asaads killing shocked fellow archeologists and drew condemnation from the international community.

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We have lost not just a scholar of archeology but one of the pillars of archeology in the 20th century, said Ahmad Ferzat Taraqji, 56, an antiquities expert and friend of Mr. al-Asaad.

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Tim Harrison, a professor of Middle Eastern archeology at the University of Toronto, noted that IS has targeted archeologists before.

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This is not the first time, its just the most dramatic occurrence, he said.

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Its very shocking and deeply upsetting for the community what has happened, Prof. Harrison added.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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