ISLAMIST (ISSIS) MILITANTS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA CONTINUE TO ATTACK ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES WITH BULLDOZERS AND EXPLOSIVES
Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria have stepped up their war on the region’s cultural heritage, attacking archaeological sites with bulldozers and explosives.
The so-called Islamic State (commonly known as ISIS) now controls large stretches of northern and western Iraq, and there's little to stop its militants from plundering and destroying sites in a region known as the cradle of civilization.
And last week the Iraqi Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced that members of ISIS had damaged the ruins of ancient cities dating back thousands of years, including a trio of Assyrian cities and the Roman-era metropolis of Hatra, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Meanwhile in Syria, the country's civil war has done tremendous damage, killing close to 200,000 and leaving millions more homeless. ISIS is just one of many factions fighting for control of the country, but it has encouraged looting as a moneymaking venture. Sites in Syria's eastern provinces, known to be ISIS strongholds, have been particularly hard-hit by looters.