Photo Credit: Bernard Gagnon / Wikimedia
The archaeological ruins at Palymra in Syria: Decumanus Maximus.

Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists have beheaded the chief archaeologist of Palmyra after interrogating him for more than a month.

The venerated scholar, 82-year-old Khaled Asa’ad, had worked for more than 50 years as the head of antiquities in the ancient city which the terrorist group captured from Syrian government troops in May.

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Asa’ad was executed Tuesday in a main square of the historic UNESCO World Heritage Site. His body was then hung from one of the 2,000-year-old columns, his family said.

Asa’ad was known for several scholarly works published in international archaeological journals on Palmyra. The site flourished in antiquity as an important trading hub along the Silk Road. The site includes Roman tombs and the Temple of Bel.

“Just imagine that such a scholar who gave such memorable services to the place and to history would be beheaded … and his corpse still hanging from one of the ancient columns in the center of a square in Palmyra,” Syrian state antiquities chief Ma’amoun Abdulkarim said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

“The continued presence of these criminals in this city is a curse and bad omen on (Palmyra) and every column and every archaeological piece in it.” Syrian officials – led by Asa’ad – moved out hundreds of the ancient statues that were in Palmyra but were not part of its Roman-era structures before its capture by Da’esh terrorists.

A Syrian source told Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, that Da’esh had interrogated Asa’ad about the located of the treasures from Palmyra. The terrorists murdered him when he refused to cooperate, the source told Doyle, according to a report by The Guardian.

The SANA news agency reported that Asa’ad had discovered several ancient cemeteries, caves and a Byzantine graveyard in the garden of the Palmyra museum. He was also a scholar of Aramaic, the local language before the rise of Islam in the seventh century.

Da’esh makes millions of dollars on sales of plundered antiquities stolen from the various sites it captures. The money is used to finance its worldwide activities.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Printing the truth about a growing ideology of evil that plans to reach across the Middle East and into the entire world? No, it's not somethng to "revel" in, but IT IS something to be dilligent about. If you don't know the difference then maybe you just shouldn't comment on things you don't understand. Or perhaps you're one of those who fantasize about "Jewish Media" controling the world? Either way, you sound like an idiot.

  2. Jeremy Miller I fully agree that ISIS is a vile and despicable bunch of murderers.
    The only issue is the JP focusing on ISIS rather than on more direct concerns of Israel & Jews.

    And my only fantasy is kicking you down a few flights of stairs for calling me an idiot.

  3. What will ISIS do to the Jews if they get the chance ? Should we offer up J Street ? What will they do to proteck themselves ? Go down fighting ? … or write the New York Times in protest ? Will President Obama send US troops to proteck them ? Are these importand questions to ask in 2015 ? I suppose not. Who cares aboit J Street ? They are just a bunch of really dumb Jews.

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