Monday, March 28, 2016

The Recapture of Palmyra and the Lion of Al-Lat

It seems like the war in Syria has been going on forever. More than 250,000 people have been killed.

And hundreds of thousands of others have been forced to flee their homes, and become refugees. 

But now at last the war on ISIS in that shattered country is showing some signs of progress, and this is a big victory.

Syrian government forces backed by Russian air strikes battled Islamic State insurgents around Palmyra on Monday, trying to extend their gains after taking back control of a city whose ancient temples were dynamited by the ultra-radical militants.

The loss of Palmyra on Sunday amounts to one of the biggest setbacks for the jihadist group since it declared a caliphate in 2014 across large parts of Syria and Iraq.

Not just because the ISIS crazies have been driven out of a strategic area. 

But also because it's a world heritage city and although great damage has been done, some of its most celebrated ruins are still standing.

As you can see in this drone video.

So although some will say it is a hollow victory.

And that the people who live there are only having one oppressor replaced with another.

The fact is the Syrians and the Russians seem to be achieving more in Syria, than the U.S. and its mighty coalition appear to be achieving in Iraq.

Saving the city known as the Venice of the Sands from further mindless destruction is something to celebrate.

And among the treasures saved is the ancient Lion of al-Lat,

Which is thought to have been destroyed. 

But is apparently still standing...

Slightly damaged, but easily repairable.

One can only wonder what it might say if it could speak, after witnessing two thousand years of human folly.

But thank goodness the old lion survived. For it is a treasure of humanity.

And it belongs to all of us...

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  1. Anonymous6:10 PM

    Yes, Trudeau failed to get out of Syria, but he has replaced the guaranteed destruction of civilian infrastructure by airstrikes with perhaps a more effective and humanitarian based tactic of helping to train effective ground troops. In a perfect world we would not be there, in our imperfect world we are there, but we do not have to create greater hardship for the peoples there than they already have.

    1. hi seems that what is happening in Syria only backs up Trudeau's new military strategy. Air power isn't enough, you need a well trained army to force the ISIS crazies out. So the sooner the Iraqi army is better trained and motivated, the sooner they will liberate their own country. I too would prefer that we were not there, but if we are going to contribute to a the fight against ISIS let's do something that works...

  2. e.a.f.1:07 AM

    Thank you for the information regarding the Lion. That is amazing it is still standing ISIS sold a lot of the antiquities prior to blowing up the city. The people who purchased the antiquities were in fact helping fund ISIS. Lets hope they can be pushed back even further. That Lion is a reminder to all of us how temporary we humans are.

    1. hi e.a.f. ...I'm glad you like the story. I have travelled all over Egypt and visited many of the astounding ruins from Aswan to Cairo. And I was hoping to visit Palmyra one day, so you can imagine how horrified to see those ISIS barbarians wreck such a treasure of humanity. The curator of the local museum who was beheaded for refusing to reveal where he had hidden priceless treasures should be honoured for his heroism. For as I said in my post, they are the heritage of humanity, and they must be protected...


  3. Very interesting.
    The US has managed to slightly contain ISIS over several years of fighting, the Russians seen to have kicked them out of most places in a matter of months.

    1. hi jrkrideau...there are a lot of puzzling things about that war. Who really stands to gain from it? Who secretly financed it? Whose side is Turkey really on? etc etc
      As for the Russians they do seem to have achieved a very good result, even though their ferocious bombing campaign I'm sure claimed many civilian lives. But I think the difference was the fighting skill of the Syrian army, for it shows what a good army with good air cover can do. And when the Iraqi army is as good as the Syrian one, and hopefully our training mission will help, they can also clear ISIS out of cities like Mosul, and finally end that nightmare....

  4. Turkey has been supplying ISIS with supplies and arms for cheap stolen Syrian Oil. Russia and the Syrian Army were able to turn this around by cutting off the supply lines. US is not directly fighting ISIS, they are just bombing and not at crucial targets. Every time there is a Russian or Syrian bombing, there are reports of civilian casualties. But every time the US or the European coalition bomb there are no casualties. This is completely false reporting. 100 of thousands are getting killed and millions are running away. ISIS are just a proxy of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia who who incidently are indiscriminately bombing people in Yemen and will be mopping up with arms they are purchasing from Canada. The policy of the West against the middle East is racist and colonialist. They will continue to bomb these poor souls into the dark ages until they are stopped by the citizens. There is no need for these terrible wars where millions are slaughtered for oil and cheap energy. Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan are all victims of the oiligarchs who control our governments. We have started in Canada by dumping Harper and I think that, unless the US wants Trump, Clinton better start to recognize their failed policies in the region or the public will not accept her as President. Possible Bernie Sanders will get in but this is not likely in the Democratic system.