Islamic State smashes 1,600-year-old convent

Islamic State smashes 1,600-year-old convent
Terror Organisation IS has once again smashed an irreplaceable part of world cultural heritage.

This time the jihadists have destroyed an ancient monastery from the fifth century.

The orthodox Mar Elian monastery, located in Qaryatain near Homs in Syria, was totally restored just 10 years ago, but it now lies in ruins.

- IS used bulldozers to destroy the Mar Elian monastery, said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, to AFP.

According to the director, the destruction is because the monastery has been used to worship gods other than Allah.

Images of the destruction suggests however, that the terrorist group's soldiers this time have not used explosives, which they have done previously, as parts of the monastery are still standing.

IS took Qaryatain on August 6. Until then 1400 Orthodox and 400 Roman Catholic Christians lived in the city. During the conquest IS allegedly took about 230 hostages.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 48 of the hostages have been freed, while at least 110 have been taken to the IS stronghold in Raqqa.

What the last 70 hostages' fate is, is yet to be seen.

Responsible for the renovation of the monastery 10 years ago, was the Jesuit priest Paolo Dall'Oglio. He was in 2013 kidnapped by IS. His fate is still unknown.

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