US Secretary of State John Kerry late Friday called on Iraqis, Syrians, and the international community to "respect and protect" historical sites, following what he called the "depraved acts" committed by ISIL in Nimrud, a site rich with archaeological artifacts.
"The Iraqi government recently nominated Nimrud to be placed on UNESCO's list of world heritage sites," Kerry said in a statement. "In contrast, ISIL's twisted goal is clear: to eviscerate a culture and rewrite history in its own brutal image." The secretary said he is "deeply disturbed" by ISIL's "destruction of Iraq's historical treasures," and said the group has "a bankrupt and toxic ideology." "Just as the United States stands with the Iraqi and Syrian people in their fight against brutality, we also recognize the need to preserve national treasures -- a critical component of a unified society," he affirmed.
"We urge all parties in Iraq and Syria and the international community to respect and protect archaeological, historic, religious, and cultural sites, including museums and archives, and to reaffirm that all those who destroy important cultural property must be held accountable," he concluded.