Why IS militants destroy ancient sites

The destruction of the grandest, most important temple in the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra has flung so-called Islamic State’s (IS) barbarous actions back into international consciousness.

Many will wonder why anyone would so actively seek to raze historical and cultural marvels that have lasted millennia.

But for the IS bulldozers, the rationale is straightforward and fulfils several readily identifiable goals.

As IS notes in the eighth issue of its own publication, the glossy Dabiq magazine, they see ancient cultural heritage as a challenge for the loyalties and legitimacy of Iraqi or Syrian people to IS itself.

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