Aligarh Historians Society denounce Palmyra expert’s beheading by ISIS

New Delhi: The Aligarh Historians Society on Thursday joined archaeologists and historians all over the world in denouncing as a most barbarous crime the gruesome murder of eminent Syrian archaeologist, Khaled al-Assaad.

Assaad, an expert on the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, one of the great World Heritage sites was beheaded by the Islamic State and photos purporting to show al-Assaad’s body tied to a post were circulated online by IS supporters.

“The Society hopes that the perpetrators of the crime, belonging to the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (DAISH) one day be brought to justice, along with those who have directed or colluded with them,” Irfan Habib, historian and President of the Aligarh Historian Society (AHS) said in a statement today.

“Civilised people, irrespective of country or religion, must unite in their support for all political and military measures designed to achieve this end, especially those being made by the government of Syria and Iraq,” it said.

The statement has been signed by AHS members — I A Khan (Treasurer), Shireen Moosvi (Secretary) Ishrat Alam (Joint Secretary) and Rakesh Batbayal (Joint Secretary). IS captured Palmyra, a renowned UNESCO World Heritage site, from government forces on May 21.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, had reported yesterday the execution saying the 82-year-old former antiquities director for Palmyra was killed in a “public square in Palmyra in front of dozens of people”.