The world was made fully aware of the threat ISIS posed to the UNESCO world heritage site in Palmyra, when the terror group captured the ancient city last month. We, along with other media outlets, covered the takeover and implications in detail.
The potential destruction of the ruins, which date back thousands of years, would represent a tragic defeat in the global effort to preserve the cultural heritage of both the Middle East and civilization itself.
On Friday, another UNESCO world heritage site was actually destroyed, this time in Yemen by U.S. ally Saudi Arabia.
Saudi warplanes decimated Old City, a 2,500 year-old collection of towers, gardens, homes, mosques, and public baths in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a.
The site was obliterated in an explosion early Friday from a missile or bomb from a Saudi warplane, though the Saudi military of course denied responsibility.
The top antiquities official at the United Nations angrily condemned the destruction, which like so many other Saudi attacks, also killed an unspecified number of residents in Al Qasimi, a neighborhood in Sana’s Old City area.
“I am profoundly distressed by the loss of human lives as well as the damage inflicted on one of the world’s oldest jewels of Islamic urban landscape,” said Irina Bokova, the director general of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
“This heritage bears the soul of the Yemeni people; it is a symbol of a millennial history of knowledge, and it belongs to all humankind,” Ms. Bokova said.