Before Orelan took hold of Palmyra, he had sworn to make shackles from Palmyra’s gold shackles to chain the unyielding queen, Zenobia, and he did it. But with all her pride and strength Zenobia stood dignified and resistant before him saying that “the dress of manhood and power of the mighty Emperor of Rome shall never conceal the cowardice and degeneration that lie under it.” Today, this same scene repeats itself.
Every time we think that we have seen enough of the atrocities committed by DAESH and its cronies, they outdo themselves by escalating their terrorism into a higher and more unprecedented level. The destruction of Palmyra, between 20 May 2015 and 27 March 2016, was not a loss to Syrian cultural heritage and history only, but to all humanity. The UNESCO world-heritage site witnessed horrors that no mind could ever think would come to be true, from the savage destruction of antiquities, to the execution of people on the amphitheater before a full audience including children, and last but not least the horrifying crime of executing Khaled Asaad, the curator of the antiquities of Palmyra. Asaad’s love and passion for his country’s heritage caused his death as he refused to lead the fighters of the terrorist group into some of the artifacts that he had managed to hide before they entered the city. That man was a living example of what it is to be loyal to one’s country, to one’s homeland, away from political loyalties or alliances, and thus his murder had provoked grief and condemnation from both governmemt loyalists and opposition alike.
Before they left the city, DAESH had made sure to cause as much damage as they could and they mined the whole area, they mind houses, lands, the archeological site, leaving behind heartbreaking piles of ruins. Right after its liberation by the Syrian Army and Russian Forces and their allies, we entered the city and took a walk in the residential area. The city of Zenobia that was once upon a time a threat to imperial Rome had turned into a city of ghosts, we were shocked by the amount of damage that hit the residential area and the archeological site. The population had fallen from 80,000 to less than 1,000 when the city was under the control of DAESH, and after liberation very few families returned to resume their life there.
Soon after that began the process of saving what was left of the artifacts and demining the whole area by Russian engineers and experts. And it was only a matter of weeks when music was played on the amphitheater restoring life and soul to the Gate of the Sun. Things started to go back to their norm, and everyone thought everything was under control until on 10 December 2016 came the shocking news that DAESH has started a new offensive and took hold of Palmyra again within two days. Then as usual, followed the captivating of civilians, mass executions and once more the destruction of antiquities, but this time way worse than before. DAESH, fully covered by the US administration and its coalition in Syria, destroyed the Tetrapylon and the Roman Amphitheatre. A newly released video by the Russian Ministry of Defense shows the damage comparing the situation in 6 June 2016 and 5 February 2017.
It is the common habit of terrorist militias to mine any area before the leave it, we have seen this in Palmyra after its first liberation, and also recently in Aleppo where more than 20,000 mines have been defused so far by Russian engineers, terrorists of Aleppo have literally mined everything, even children’s toys. But this time, DAESH’s revenge over a second defeat in Palmyra is going to cost Zenobia’s land what is left of its life as the old city is being mined now to be blown before DAESH retreats based on many tweets for ISIS fighters in addition to several reports by the Russian Ministry of Defence that has detected an unusual movement in the last few days in the old city.
The following video shows how they mined and bombed gas company in eastern rural Homs, just imagine how in the very same manner, columns that have stood the mighty power of time, and temples that have been the beating heart of a civilization that gave light to the whole old world, are now one botton away from being turned into ashes.
In a matter of weeks or less, crocodile tears will be shed, flags will be lowered again, mourning of the lost heritage will be heard everywhere, condemnations will come out like rain, but of what use will all that be after the damage is done?
Once again history repeats itself, the proud and unyielding city, the gate of our sun, stands in shackles before coward and degenerate enemies that have saved no effort to bring it down to its knees.