Last May, the world was horrified to learn that the band of marauding, black-flag waving, sword-wielding jihadist desert bandits we all know as the CIA-spawn called ISIS had overrun the ancient city of Palmyra. A UNESCO world heritage site, the city is known for its picturesque ancient ruins and boasts a rich cultural history that brings together Greek, Roman and Persian influences.
The fear - well besides the worry that the militants might murder all the men and enslave the women and children - was that ISIS would destroy the city’s architectural treasures. Those fears were realized in October when reports indicated that the group had blown up the Triumphal Archs, a 2,000 year-old monument that dates back to the Roman empire. Here's a drone flyover of the destruction:
And a before/after contrast
“It’s a crime in every sense of the word,” Syria’s chief of antiquities said. “All we can do is share the sadness.”
Yes, “a crime in every sense of the word,” but destroying the Arch wasn’t the only “crime” ISIS committed at the city’s vaunted ruins. The militants also put on a rather horrific (if morbidly epic) display in The Roman Theatre where city residents were forced to watch as two dozen teenage ISIS trainees carried out a mass execution of captured SAA soldiers.
Right. So that's all really, really bad which is why you would think everyone would be happy to learn that the Syrian army - with the help of Russian commandos and Moscow's warplanes - have now entered the city and are on the verge of liberating it from the ISIS scourge. One Russian SpecOps soldier was reportedly killed in the fighting. "The soldier died heroically, calling the strike onto himself after he was discovered and surrounded by terrorists," Interfax said.
"Syrian government forces fought their way into Palmyra on Thursday as the army backed by Russian air cover sought to recapture the historic city from Islamic State (IS) insurgents," Reuters reports. "The state-run news channel Ikhbariya broadcast images from just outside Palmyra on Thursday and said government fighters had taken over a hotel district in the west [while] the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the army had advanced into the hotel district just to the southwest of the city and reached the start of a residential area, after a rapid advance the day before brought the army and its allies right up to its outskirts."
So, after nine months in ISIS hands, the Russians, Hezbollah, and the SAA are about to liberate a UNESCO world heritage site from the most brutal jihadist organization the world has ever known. Unequivocally good right?
Not necessarily, according to the US State Dept. Watch below as spokesman Mark Toner tries to explain to reporters why it may be better if ISIS holds onto its territory. "You know I mean look... broadly speaking .... you know... it's not a great choice... an either/or... but... you know..."
No Mark, we don't "know."