People, Travel

UN Peacekeepers to Protect Cultural Heritage

UN Peacekeepers to Protect Cultural HeritageUN Peacekeepers to Protect Cultural Heritage

On Saturday, Italy announced that UNESCO has approved its proposal to have the United Nation’s famous blue helmets protect heritage locations around the world from attacks by militants.

Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said in a statement that UNESCO has approved the deployment of the Cultural Blue Helmets to protect heritage sites that are at risk, ARA News reported.

“Nearly 53 countries voted in favor after the destruction of archeological sites in Syria’s Palmyra by the Islamic State militants,” he added.

Franceschini pointed out that the international community cannot stand back and watch IS terrorist attacks on Palmyra.

 “The permanent members of the security council had supported the idea.”

The UN peacekeepers, who are widely recognized by their blue helmets, would be able to benefit from the experience of Italy’s cultural and heritage police, who used to carry out training missions around the world, according to the Italian minister.

This peacekeeping force would mostly protect important sites at risk from terrorist attacks, natural disasters and the armed conflict in Syria and Iraq.

 “We call on the UN to as soon as possible define the operational aspects of this international task force,” Franceschini said.

Speaking to ARA News, Syrian Kurdish archeologist, Perwin Issa, said, “Although IS radicals have not yet destroyed many of Palmyra’s antiquities since taking over the city (Tadmur) mid-May, the group is expected to demolish all these antiquities since they consider them as idols worshiped by people in pre-Islam era.”

International concern over the fate of cultural sites, artifacts and monuments has been heightened by Islamic State’s sustained destruction campaign against monuments that the terrorist group has been waging in Syria and Iraq.

The militants destroyed and looted the 13th-century Assyrian city of Nimrud, the ancient ruins at Hatra and Khorsabad, an ancient Assyrian capital, as well as several other ancient sites in northern Iraq. They also released videos demonstrating IS militants smashing priceless artifacts and relics dating back to the 7th century BC in the central museum of Mosul, RT reported.

After seizing Palmyra in Syria in May, Islamic State militants have been consistently destroying the ancient city included on the UNESCO World Heritage list and demolishing some of its most prized sites.