I utterly condemn ISIL’s destruction of the historic temple of Baalshamin in Syria’s Palmyra, news of which comes only days after the bulldozing of the Mar Elian monastery near Qaryatain and the murder of elderly archaeology expert Khaled al-Asaad.
Amidst the horror and unimaginable human suffering of the conflict, the richness of Syria’s culture and history is of huge value to the whole world. It also has an important contribution to make to an inclusive national identity. All sides to the conflict have a responsibility to protect these sites of historical importance.
The UK is playing a key role in a Global Coalition of over sixty countries working to defeat ISIL on all fronts: militarily, cutting off its finances, reducing the influx of fighters, challenging its ideology, and providing humanitarian assistance to victims of its violence. This latest atrocity only reconfirms the need for us to redouble our efforts to defeat this brutal terrorist group and end the suffering caused by the wider conflict.