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The black flags of Isis are flying over Palmyra. Even the ancient ruins, sunburnt deserts seem to look frightened. The count down has begun, just a few more days, maybe hours, and the ionoclastic rage of the men of Al Baghdadi will come down on them, wiping them away from history, as had already happened to the monuments of Mosul and Nimrud. Monuments that had survived centuries of conquests and that everyone’s admiration, recognition for their beauty, and worth in history. But in the new order that the Caliphate wants to bring into the conquered regions there is no room for art, especially if it is of pagan origin. Unesco and the international community had already raised an alarm last week, now it may be too late to save the museums and buildings dating back to the Roman age and priceless paintings. “I am very concerned about the situation in Palmyra. The fighters are threaten one of the most significant places in the Middle East and the civilian population living there, “said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN agency that tabulates and protect world heritage sites.

While the Jihadists were “celebrating” victory with executions (dealing out bottles of champagne to the citizens in the Syrian centre), as dozens of statues were moved, which could fall into the hnads of Daesh. The archaeological Centre of Palmyra, with more than 2 thousand years history, entered into Unesco list in 1980 and is considered to be one of the treasures of the Middle East. Here many civilisations have left their imprint : the Seleucids, Romans, Byzantines and Arabs. Each of them has left us, reckless men of the modern age, a contribution to remind us of their passage. A memory that a war without limits and boundaries could dissolve. Because if effigies and sculptures can be transported elsewhere the same cannot be done for aqueducts and buildings.

Beside the cultural tragedy, hundreds of men and women tortured, tortured and brutally killed creating a desert in the desert where the Caliphate can spread the tentacles. Regular army soldiers have moved into northern districts of Tedmor (the current name of the city), leaving the rest to the Jihad. Perhaps consequence to a military strategy but certainly reprehensible according to some observers. According to the activist Naser al-Tahir, a member of the local coordination of the revolution, it was “a real passage of deliveries”. “There have been very mild clashes between the Isis and the regime’s forces after they withdrew quickly from all points where they were concentrated in the city” reported to Aki Adnkronos. Assad’s military are supposed to have suffered “very minor losses, not more than fifty soldiers”. As for the detainees in the prison of the city, considered one of the toughest in Syria, all prisoners are supposed toh ave been “released, but yesterday the regime’s forces had proceeded to transfer a large part in Damascus”. Thair then denied that Isis had taken prisoners amongst government military forces: “the Islamic State had paved their way for the retreat and this indicates that it has been a real shift of deliveries”.

But, paradoxically, international alert for Palmyra could accelerate the destruction. Al Bagdhadi likes to have the eyes of the world pointing towards them; killing and annihilating, not limiting to terrorize but launch explicit warnings to their rivals, as if to say: “This is what would happen to you.” Destroying the cities would then present the right opportunity to return the challenge to the world. Tedmor, besides, is not only of archeological but also military and strategic value. The ruins are located on the road linking Damascus to the eastern part of the town of Deir and the desert around bordering the Iraqi province of Al Anbar. The area is also rich in oil and gas deposits which the central government uses to generate electricity for the western regions of the country. The only underground treasure, which could remain intact.


Traslation by Marina Stronati

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