Palmyra under threat from IS terrorists

The IS has gained control of the Syrian city of Tadmur, where the ancient ruins of Palmyra are located. The world must look on powerlessly while this World Heritage site is destroyed, some commentators lament. Others criticise the West for showing more solidarity with a pile of stones than with the hundreds of thousands of victims of war.

Open/close all quotes
Mladá fronta dnes (CZ) /

West looks on powerlessly as Palmyra falls

The ancient Syrian oasis city of Palmyra will fall and the West is powerless to stop it, the liberal daily Mladá fronta Dnes writes in despair: "The videos on the Internet will break our hearts. We'll see the IS militias smash colonnades, columns and stone arches - everything that in their primitiveness they see as a sign of idolatry. But the West is not ready to send in ground troops. The Americans - and the Czechs - don't want to watch soldiers die in the Middle East. All that remains is airstrikes. The Americans are in a position to carry out precise strikes. But that would only help military dictator Assad, who had controlled Palmyra until now. In other words, Western jet fighters would then be serving the man who used chemical weapons and broke Syria with his brutality. For that reason Palmyra won't be saved, and will soon only exist in photographs."

NRC next (NL) /

Grotesque solidarity with pillars in the desert

The global outcry over the IS's seizure of Palmyra is grotesque, author Ilja Leonard writes in the liberal daily "When the homeless and the refugees ask us for help we close our eyes, our ears and our borders to them. But when a pile of photogenic stones are besieged we scream blue murder. And I know why: Palmyra is ours. … The Romans built the city, so our historic roots are at stake. It is part of our culture and we want to show that it's important to us. … We feel a personal bond with this pile of stones. The dead and homeless Syrians, on the other hand, are totally alien to us and leave us cold or make us afraid. Clearly it's easier to show solidarity with a bunch of pillars in the desert than with hundreds of thousands of victims of war."

El Mundo (ES) /

Only a consolidated effort can defeat IS

The terrorist IS is an international security risk and the nations of the world must join forces against it, the conservative daily El Mundo urges: "The consolidation of a terrorist state in the region has destroyed borders that have existed for almost a century. This state finances itself by ransacking cities and selling stolen petrol on the black market. It applies an implacable policy of ethnic and religious extermination. And finally it is exporting Islamic terrorism to the rest of the world. All this should be sufficient reason to intensify the efforts aimed at its destruction. The IS is not only a danger in the region, its mere existence is a threat to international security"

Berliner Zeitung (DE) /

Collapse of Iraq and Syria unstoppable

Nothing and no one seems to be able to stop the advance of the IS, the left-liberal daily Berliner Zeitung writes, taking a bleak look at the region's future: "Ramadi was simply overrun by the terrorists although the US did its best to stop them with numerous airstrikes. ... The situation is no better in Syria, where the IS has forced the government troops to retreat from Palmyra. While the military is simply defending the interests of Bashar al-Assad and the opposition can at best only agree on a temporary alliance against the IS, the terrorists are continually building up their power base. Things seemed different for a while in Iraq, where the Kurds and the Sunnis fiercely fought the IS in concert with the Americans. After the fall of Ramadi the local chiefs could be inclined to unite with the Sunni IS against the Shiite power elite in Baghdad. But the time has come to bid farewell to any hopes of a victory against the IS. The fall of Iraq and Syria seems unstoppable."