ISIS Chops to Pieces Body of Famed Palmyra Archaeologist

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The family of famed Syrian archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad revealed the Islamic State, who brutally murdered al-Asaad last week, later mutilated his body by chopping it into pieces.

"Residents of Palmyra told me that IS had cut up my father's body into pieces," said Mohammad al-Asaad, one of Khaled's sons, who after being held along with his a brother by the Islamic State for a week, fled to Homs and later to Damascus.

A cousin, who also worked in antiquities, told the family what had happened to their father after his murder.

Al-Assad, 82, was publicly beheaded last week by the Islamist terrorist organization for refusing to give Islamic State militants information as to where Palmyra’s most valuable artifacts could be found. He had served as Palmyra’s antiquities chief for 50 years, spending his days studying Pamyra’s treasures. Even after his retirement, he continued his job as an expert and was said to be familiar with every stone in the spectacular ancient city.

The jihadis use money gleaned from selling ancient artifacts to partially fund their militias.

When the Islamic State took over, al-Asaad refused to leave. "My father used to always say, 'I'll die standing up, like the palm tree of Palmyra,'" he son reported.

Living in the modern, neighboring city of Tadmur, al-Asaad continued his walks in his beloved city daily until he was kidnapped by the Islamic State.

“They brought him to the square in a black van, then used loudspeakers to call for people to come and watch the execution,” Palmyra resident Abu Mohammed al-Tadmuri said, as reported by the Atlantic.

A crowd of 150 people, including women and children, gathered to watch the beheading.

“His body was left on the ground for more than six hours, from 11 a.m. until after five o'clock in the evening,” Tadmuri said. “After that, they strung up his body on a pole.”

The final desecration was mutilating the body.

Commenting on the killing, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said, the Islamic State “murdered a great man, but they will never silence history.”

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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