The Islamic State hasn’t had enough of destructing ancient monuments, it seems, as they recently blew up the Temple of Bel in the ancient city of Palmyra. Since May, when they took over the ancient city, the world’s attention shifted to Palmyra, as it is a World Heritage site. But not many people have heard of Khaled al- Asaad, the martyr of Palmyra.
Khaled al-Asaad was the former director of Palmyra, 81 years old, who was beheaded in August by the militants of the Islamic State. His dead body was hung in public space so everybody could see him. Ηe and his son, Walid, were tortured to admit where Palmyra’s treasures could be found, His son’s fate is still unknown.
Khaled has worked for over 50 years in the site of Palmyra and he has devoted his life to it. During his time there, the site was perfectly preserved, new archeological findings came up, the Palmyra Museum was built and the site became known worldwide. Apart from his effort to protect the site’s treasures, another reason to justify his execution was that he was a supporter of the Syrian regime. But in reality, Asaad was only a true patriot who cared for his country and for its archeological heritage.
When friends and people who admired him advised him to leave Palmyra, he said: ‘I’m from Palmyra and I will stay even if they have to kill me’. Unfortunately, the ISIS had no problem doing just that.
Khaled al Asaad was a true hero, standing for the future of Syria. He died a martyr.