Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Islamic State demons behead 82 year-old archaeologist

What kind of threat is an octogenarian academic who spend most of his adult life at the Palmyra archaeological site in Syria, to ISIS?

The murder victim, Khaled Asaad, 82, seems to have been one terrific man. Perhaps that's why the Islamic State killed him.

From Fox News:
Asaad spent over 50 years working at the UNESCO World Heritage site, including alongside U.S., French, German, and Swiss archaeological missions. He also wrote many books and scientific texts either individually or in cooperation with other Syrian or foreign archeologists, SANA said. Among his titles are "The Palmyra Sculptures," and "Zenobia, the Queen of Palmyra and the Orient."

[Syrian state antiquities chief Maamoun] Abdulkarim described Asaad as "one of the most important pioneers in Syrian archaeology in the 20th century." The country's official news agency SANA reported that Asaad had been in charge of Palmyra's archaeological site for four decades until 2003, when he retired. After retiring, al-Asaad worked as an expert with the Antiquities and Museums Department.

Asaad, who held a diploma in history and education from the University of Damascus, also discovered several ancient cemeteries, caves and the Byzantine cemetery in the garden of the Museum of Palmyra, the agency reported.

"Al-Asaad was a treasure for Syria and the world," Khalil Hariri from Palmyra's archaeological department told The Associated Press, speaking over the phone from the central Syrian city of Homs. "Why did they kill him?"

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