Russia, Syria Troops Discover Islamic State Mass Grave in Palmyra

In this picture taken Friday, April 1, 2016, graffiti and damage are seen at the historical Bel Temple in the ancient city of Palmyra in the central city of Homs, Syria. Explosions rocked the ancient town of Palmyra on Friday and on the horizon, black smoke wafted behind its majestic …

Syrian and Russian forces discovered a mass grave of victims of the Islamic State, including women and children, following the liberation of the ancient city of Palmyra.

The forces “identified 45 bodies so far.” Authorities determined the grave held 24 civilians, including three children. They believe the terrorist group beheaded some of the victims.

The military moved the bodies to a military hospital in Homs.

Syrian forces, with Russian airstrikes, drove out the Islamic State at the end of March. The terrorist group held the ancient city for 10 months.

Rami Abdulrahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the Islamic State lost over 400 militants in the fight. He also described the loss “as the biggest single defeat for the group since it announced its cross-border caliphate nearly two years ago.”

They also dismantled at least 150 land mines inside the city. Maamoun Abdul-Karim, head of Syria’s antiquities and museums, said his team could not reach certain areas due to the mines and bombs.

At first, the Islamic State promised to only destroy anything in Palmyra that promotes idolatry, but leave everything else alone.

“Concerning the historic city, we will preserve it and it will not be harmed, God willing,” said an Islamic State commander. “What we will do is break the idols that the infidels used to worship. The historic buildings will not be touched and we will not bring bulldozers to destroy them like some people think.”

However, only a few months later, the group published pictures of jihadists destroying ancient statues. Islamic State terrorists annihilate history as they establish their sadistic Caliphate across Iraq and Syria because these pieces promote “idolatry,” according to them. In the pictures, militants use a sledgehammer to obliterate the priceless artifacts. Abdelkarim confirmed the group destroyed the 2,000-year-old statue Lion of al-Lat. A Polish archaeological team discovered the statue in 1977.

“IS members on Saturday destroyed the Lion of al-Lat, which is a unique piece that is three metres [10ft] tall and weighs 15 tonnes,” he declared. “It’s the most serious crime they have committed against Palmyra’s heritage.”

During the ten-month reign, the Islamic State slaughtered at least 280 people. They released a video on July 4 that showed children executing 25 members of the Syrian forces in the city’s ancient Roman amphitheater. A large crowd witnesses the execution, cheering on the boys to pull the trigger. The Islamic State even placed young children in the front row to witness the executions.