When ISIS militants took control of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra last month, observers feared the world was set to lose a treasure of antiquity. The city, which houses ruins that date back thousands of years, is a UNESCO world heritage site. Historians say its destruction would represent a tragic defeat in the effort to preserve the cultural heritage not just of the Middle East, but of modern civilization itself.
On Friday, the proxy wars that, thanks in large part to US foreign policy, now plague the Middle East, took their toll on another UNESCO heritage site when Saudi warplanes decimated Old City, a 2,500 year-old collection of homes, towers, gardens, mosques, and public baths in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a.
NY Times has more:
A protected 2,500-year-old cultural heritage site in Yemen’s capital, Sana, was obliterated in an explosion early Friday, and witnesses and news reports said the cause was a missile or bomb from a Saudi warplane. The Saudi military denied responsibility.
The top antiquities-safeguarding official at the United Nations angrily condemned the destruction of ancient multistory homes, towers and gardens, which also killed an unspecified number of residents in Al Qasimi, a neighborhood in Sana’s Old City area.
“I am profoundly distressed by the loss of human lives as well as the damage inflicted on one of the world’s oldest jewels of Islamic urban landscape,” said the official, Irina Bokova, the director general of Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization…
“This heritage bears the soul of the Yemeni people; it is a symbol of a millennial history of knowledge, and it belongs to all humankind,” Ms. Bokova said.