Radical Islamists take hammer to Syrian artifacts

Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant smash an Assyrian statue.

Fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a radical militia that controls a large swath of eastern Syria, recently confiscated and destroyed illegally excavated antiquities from an ancient Mesopotamian site.

In an act of cultural genocide strikingly similar to the Taliban’s demolition of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001, the ISIL fighters appear – in pictures uploaded by a group working to protect Syria’s rich historical heritage — to smash a 3,000-year-old Neo-Assyrian statue illegally removed from a nearby archaeological site. Another image shows a man placing his foot — an act of disrespect in Arab culture — on the face of the Assyrian statue before its destruction.

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Let’s send them arms! Maybe a few anti-aircraft missiles, like they’ve been demanding. True, this is the most radical of the Sunni groups, but I do not have much faith in anything entering Syria: it could easily end up in their hands.

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