A new video purportedly released by the Islamic State shows the destruction of the Monastery of St. Elian, a 1,500-year-old Catholic monastery in Al-Qaryatayn, Syria.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova condemned the destruction, saying in a press release:
“The intentional targeting and systematic destruction of the cultural heritage of Syria is reaching unprecedented levels. The destruction of the Mar Elian monastery is a tragic loss for the region, for women and men around the world.
The cultural cleansing underway at the hands of ISIL/Daesh must stop. The persecution of communities reflecting the great diversity of Syria, combined with the systematic destruction of some of the most iconic representations of Syria’s rich heritage, testifies to an ideology of hatred and exclusion.
Attacks against civilians and minority groups as well as their heritage are in direct violation of humanitarian law, as stated by the UN Secretary General and the UN Security Council. Such acts are war crimes and their perpetrators must be accountable for their actions. UNESCO stands by all Syrian people in their efforts to safeguard their heritage, a heritage for all humanity.”
ISIS activity in Al-Qaryatayn has been featured prominently in propaganda recently. Yesterday a photo series of Alawites “spies” being beheaded in Al-Qaryatayn was released.