11 March 2015
Antiquities ministry reiterates calls for international community to intervene after reports of new attack on ancient city of Dur Sharrukin
‘We have warned previously and warn now that these gangs with their sick, takfiri ideology will continue to destroy and steal artefacts as long as there is no strong deterrent, and we still await a strong international stand to stop the crimes of Daesh that are targeting the memory of humanity,’ the Iraqi antiquities ministry stated, referring to the militant group by its Arabic acronym.
Iraq’s tourism and antiquities minister, Adel Shirshab, called for air strikes by the US-led coalition to protect the country’s heritage. ‘Our airspace is not in our hands. It’s in their hands,’ Shirshab told reporters, according to Reuters. ‘I am calling on the international community and coalition to activate its air strikes and target terrorism wherever it exists.’
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, described the sites’ desecration as a ‘war crime’. His spokesman said: ‘The secretary-general urgently calls on the international community to swiftly put a stop to such heinous terrorist activity and to counter the illicit traffic in cultural artefacts.’