Kerry blames ISIL for ‘barbarism’ of heritage sites

Kerry blames ISIL for \

Baghdad ( U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday blamed Islamic State militants and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for destroying cultural treasures in Syria and Iraq describing it as “ugly, savage, inexplicable, valueless barbarism”.

Kerry broke away from meetings focused on the defeat of Islamic State forces to attend a program entitled “Heritage in Peril: Iraq and Syria” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The event came just hours before the United States announced it had conducted air strikes inside Syria against Islamic State forces, which have seized swathes of Iraq and Syria and proclaimed a caliphate. They stand accused of massacres of civilians, beheadings and other human rights violations.

Clashes between Assad forces and rebels have damaged historical sites and buildings throughout Syria. There has also been illegal looting of artefacts from archaeological sites during Syria’s more than three-year civil war.

“Ancient treasures in Iraq and in Syria have now become the casualties of continuing warfare and looting,” Kerry told the event. “And no one group has done more to put our shared cultural heritage in the gun sights than ISIL.” /End/

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