The looting and willful destruction of historic structures and sites within Syria and Iraq by forces of the Islamic State (ISIL, ISIS, or Daesh) have left the world in a state of disbelief and grief. UNSECO has declared the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage as war crimes (UNESCO 2015), and the mass killing and genocide of religious, gender, and ethnic groups as crimes against humanity (UNAMI/ OHCHR 2014). Scenes of extreme violence have populated the media since the start of the Syrian War in 2011. Archaeological sites, artifacts, books, museum collections, religious structures, and other tangible representations of cultural and historical significance have fallen victim to intentional terrorism, while also suffering the effects of war from all sides within the conflict.
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