New York

24 August 2015

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on terrorist attacks in Syria

The Secretary-General condemns the continuing acts of terror and grave violations of international law committed by Da'esh in Syria, including the systematic destruction and plunder of the country’s cultural heritage.  He is appalled by reports of the demolition by Da'esh of the ancient temple of Baal Shamin in the city of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Secretary-General is also outraged by the brutal murder of Khaled al-Asaad, retired chief archaeologist of Palmyra, by the same terrorist group on 18 August. The Secretary-General extends his heartfelt condolences to Mr. al-Asaad’s family.

These barbaric acts of terror join a long list of crimes committed over the past four years in Syria against its civilian population and heritage.

The Secretary-General calls on the international community to unite and act swiftly to put a stop to this terrorist activity. He reiterates that the deliberate destruction of our common cultural heritage is a war crime and that the perpetrators must be prosecuted.