Tuesday 18 August 2015

Syrian Antiquities Official Captured and Killed

Khaled Assad
The man who looked after the Roman ruins in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra is reported to have been killed by Islamic State (IS) militants. Khaled Asaad was taken hostage by the group after it seized the Unesco World Heritage site earlier this year. The family of the 82-year-old scholar said he had been beheaded by IS fighters, according to Syria's director of antiquities, Maamoun Abdulkarim. Mr Asaad had spent more than 50 years working on Palmyra. He was head of antiquities at the ancient ruins, which is considered one of the most important historic sites in the Middle East. 'Curse on the city' On Tuesday, Mr Abdulkarim said the scholar's family told him that Mr Asaad had been killed and his body hung from a column in Palmyra's main square.
here is a link to a list of some of his books about Palmyra. He was accused of apostasy, loyalty to and regular communication with the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, representing Syria at conferences with “infidels” and being the director of Palmyra’s collection of “idols.” - for ISIL, it would seem, curating antiquities and giving papers at international academic conferences are capital offences. It seems he was interrogated by ISIL for over a month and required to reveal the location of the hidden artefacts from Palmyra. He refused, ISIL executed him. The freshly-surfaced Middle Eastern artefacts sold on foreign markets are real blood antiquities, is it only archaeologists who are prepared to try to stop their sale? 

Source: ' Syrian archaeologist 'killed in Palmyra' by IS militants' BBC , 19th August 2015.
see also Tom Coghlan, 'Jihadists behead Palmyra’s archaeology chief' The Times, 19th August 2015.
Jonathan Tubb, 'Khaled al-Asaad's enthusiasm for Palmyra was inextinguishable ' The Guardian 19th August 2015.

See also:
'Khaled al-Asaad. Archaeologist. Hero'. The History Blog, August 19th, 2015.
A man who spends half a century dedicated to the study of his beautiful city’s rich history, excavating its ancient glories and sharing them with the world in museums and books; a man who, when the storm of violence approaches, works assiduously to hide those priceless artifacts from the monsters who would destroy them or disperse them into the hands of greedy, amoral collectors around the world; a man who then refuses to leave the city even though he knows he will almost certainly be a target of said monsters; a man who, at 82 years of age, sustains a month of God knows what kind of interrogation methods without breaking; a man who gives his life for love of history. That man is the hero.

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