IS guilty of 'cultural cleansing' in Syria, Iraq

IS guilty of 'cultural cleansing' in Syria, Iraq
1 min read
06 October, 2015
The Islamic State and other militant groups are guilty of 'cultural cleansing' in Iraq and Syria, the head UN's heritage organisation UNESCO.
Bokova said destroying heritage sites was an attempt to erase cultural identity [AFP]

Head of Unesco, the UN's heritage organisation, has said the Islamic State group and other militant groups are guilty of 'cultural cleansing'.

Irina Bokova, said the world had been "stunned" by the scale of the destruction of historically and culturally significant sites by Islamist terror groups over the past few years.

"I'm calling this cultural cleansing," she said.

Speaking in an interview to Russia Today on 3 October, two days before news that IS had destroyed a triumphal arch in Palmyra, she said destroying heritage sites should be seen as an attempt to erase cultural identity.

Bokova compared the attacks by IS to the destruction of manuscripts by Islamist fighters in Mali in 2013 and the Taliban's dynamiting of the Buddah statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan.

Isis has carried out a sustained campaign of destroying cultural artefacts.

IS has destroyed archaeological sites in Syria and Iraq, including Nimrod, Hatra and Mosul, and parts of Palmyra in Syria.

It is also involved in looting and trafficking of antiquities, which has helped fund the group.