Baghdad, SANA- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) condemned the destruction of the ancient Iraqi city of Hatra by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria( ISIS).
“The destruction of Hatra marks a turning point in the appalling strategy of cultural cleansing under way in Iraq” said UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova in a statement on Saturday.
Hatra, the UNESCO world heritage site, was founded in the days of the Parthian Empire over 2,000 years ago.
Located at the south-west of Mosul, Hatra was a fortified city that withstood invasions by the Romans thanks to its thick walls reinforced by towers.
Earlier in the day, Iraqi tourism and antiquities ministry official said the extent of the damage at the UNESCO world heritage site was unclear, adding that he had received reports that it had been demolished, blaming the international community for failing to help Iraq protect its ancient monuments.
The Ministry said in a statement the delay in international support for Iraq has encouraged terrorists to commit another crime of stealing and demolishing the remains of the city of Hatra.
Destruction of Hatra came two days after ISIS bulldozed ruins at the Assyrian city of Nimrud, an Assyrian city founded in the 13th Century BC, and destroyed museum artefacts in Mosul.
On Friday UNESCO head Bokova condemned the “cultural cleansing” in Iraq as a “war crime”.