Islamic State jihadists have released photos on social media of their counterparts in Syria destroying a cemetery by hammering tombs to the ground. The group claims to object to tombs as wrongful worship of the dead, though much of the material was also taken away to use as construction materials.
The Daily Mail has published an extensive library of photos showing the destruction of a cemetery that appears to be on the outskirts of Raqqa, the appointed “capital” of the Islamic State caliphate. The photos show an extensive effort using rudimentary tools to destroy a cemetery tomb by tomb:
Tearing down the graves: Now ISIS turn their savagery on the dead by pulling down monuments and smashing tombs pic.twitter.com/O2FhBnX0uC
— Zohra K (@Zohra_K) March 30, 2015
The Daily Mail notes that, while most of the images show actual destruction of the cemetery site, the last image shows jihadists organizing rubble into a pile and taking it away, possibly for use in construction in Raqqa.
The Islamic State group has previously worked to similarly destroy grave sites, though none as anonymous as this one. ISIS jihadists used explosives to destroy what is believed to be the tomb of the Biblical Jonah in Mosul, Iraq, and the resting place of dictator Saddam Hussein in Tikrit.
The last image depicting jihadists leaving the site with what could be used as construction materials highlights the growing need for basic goods within the parameters of the Islamic State. While extremely efficient in their attempts at genocide against Iraq’s Yazidi minority, Christians, and other “infidels,” ISIS has struggled to recruit a high enough number of professionals in various necessary fields to provide the services required of a state. As early into the Islamic State project as July 2014, reports began to surface that the Islamic State was significantly lacking enough doctors to care for both wounded mujahideen, badly injured sex slaves, and victims of a mysterious water-borne illness. Raqqa also lacks a sufficient number of engineers to keep roads functional, buildings standing up, oil fields producing, and crops growing.
In January, the Iraqi government announced that the Islamic State was responsible for a 40 percent drop in agricultural production in the past year.
The Islamic State has continued its attempts to make its territories a desirable relocation spot for radical Muslims, however. Most recently, ISIS released a series of photos via social media allegedly showing a “military graduation” of jihadists who had completed the Islamic State’s required training and were ready to be sent to the battlefield in Syria.