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Erbil, Kurdistan Region – The Islamic State group (IS/ISIS) claimed that it foiled a smuggling operation of sculptures from the historic city of Palmyra (Tadmur) in central Syria, pro-IS sources reported on Thursday.
The group announced they arrested the statuses’ smuggler in the city of Manbij, north of Aleppo.
The IS-linked Media Office of Halab State (Aleppo province) said that a security checkpoint held by IS militants arrested a man carrying a collection of statues contraband from the ancient city of Palmyra.
The smuggler was heading to the city of Aleppo before being captured by IS militants.
“He (the smuggler) was transferred to the Islamic Court in the city of Manbij, where he received his punishment. The statues were immediately destroyed,” the Media Office reported.
The group published images of heads belonging to the famous Queen of Palmyra, Zenobia (a 3rd-century Queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Syria, who led a famous revolt against the Roman Empire), and some other figures, destroying them by a large hammer.
ARA News could not verify the authenticity of the destroyed sculptures.
Perwin Issa, a Syrian Kurdish archeologist, told ARA News: “Although IS radicals have not yet destroyed many of Palmyra’s antiquities since taking over the city (Tadmur) mid-May, the group is expected to demolish all these antiquities since they consider them as idols worshiped by people in pre-Islam era.”
“Such radical groups do not care about cultural heritage. Many monuments and sculptures have been looted and smuggled into Western countries through Turkey at the hands of IS-linked smugglers,” she argued.
The Islamic State took over the Syrian historic city of Palmyra last May, amid mounting fears by UNESCO officials about the fate of the ancient city.
Reporting by: Sarbaz Yousef
Source: ARA News
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