ISIL Beheads Elderly Ex-Antiquities Chief in Syria’s Palmyra

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Middle East
Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Takfiri group, ISIL (so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Levant) has beheaded the 82-year-old former antiquities director for the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria's antiquities chief and a monitor said.

Photos purporting to show Khaled al-Assaad's body tied to a post in Palmyra were circulated online by ISIL supporters.

Syria's antiquities chief Maamoun Abdelkarim told AFP that Assaad was executed by the Takfiri group on Tuesday afternoon in Palmyra, in central Homs province.
"Daesh has executed one of Syria's most important antiquities experts," Abdelkarim said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.

"He was the head of antiquities in Palmyra for 50 years and had been retired for 13 years... He was 82 years old," he added.

Abdelkarim said the former antiquities official's body had been hung in the ancient ruins in Palmyra after being beheaded.

But the photo circulating online showed a body on a median strip of a main road, tied to what appeared to be a lamp post.

A sign attached to the body identified it as that of Assaad.

It accused him of being a regime loyalist for representing Syria in conferences abroad with "infidels" and of being director of Palmyra's "idols".
It also claimed he had been in contact with regime officials.

Abdelkarim said Assaad had been detained by ISIL militants a month earlier and that they were looking for "stores of gold" in the city.
"I deny wholeheartedly that these stores exist," he said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, also reported the execution, saying Assaad had been killed in a "public square in Palmyra in front of dozens of people".

ISIL captured Palmyra, a renowned UNESCO World Heritage site, from government forces on May 21, prompting international concerns about the fate of the city's antiquities.

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