Syrian archaeologist ‘beheaded in cold blood’

Islamic State targets octogenarian scholar, according to reports

August 19, 2015
Source: iStock
Part of the archaeological remains at Palmyra before Islamic State seized the site

Come to our MENA Universities Summit from 2-4 February 2016

A leading Syrian archaeologist who devoted most of his career to the preservation of the ancient city of Palmyra is reported to have been beheaded by Islamic State militants.

Khaled al-Asaad was in charge of the celebrated antiquities and museum for four decades until he retired in 2003.

IS, which has already damaged a number of similar sites, took over the Unesco World Heritage Site in May. It has since destroyed statuary and shrines and released a video of Syrian government forces being executed in the theatre.

Dr al-Asaad seems to have stayed on in Palmyra in order to try to protect the archaeological remains, the future of which are very much in doubt, and to have been held by the group for a month.

On 18 August, the Syrian Arab News Service reported an announcement by Maamoun Abdul-Karim, director of the General Department of Antiquities and Museums.

Describing Dr al-Asaad as “one of the most important pioneers in Syrian archaeology in the 20th century” and citing “local sources in Palmyra city”, he said that “ISIS terrorists beheaded in cold blood the 80-year old archaeologist in the National Museum Square in the city and later crucified his body and hung him on colonnades in central Palmyra”.

matthew.reisz@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Lecturer in Innovation and Enterprise UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE
Senior Lecturer in Project Management UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE
Research Fellow UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE
Head of Student Systems and Records YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Microlight pilot flies with flock of cranes

Reports of UK-based researchers already thinking of moving overseas after Brexit vote

Portrait montage of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage

From Donald Trump to Brexit, John Morgan considers the challenges of a new international political climate