Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) militants have destroyed another historical and religious landmark; this time it was the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church located in the Deir Ezzor Governate of Syria. The building was loaded with explosives that were later detonated by ISIS members, destroying the church used to commemorate the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide. No civilians were harmed by the large explosion; however, witnesses reported that members of ISIS looted and vandalized the church before it was destroyed.
The Armenian Diaspora from the Eastern Anatolia (present-day Turkey) forced many Armenians to seek refuge in neighboring countries, where they would later assimilate, but remain tied to their roots. The Armenian Genocide Memorial Church was constructed in 1990 to pay tribute to the Armenians that were marched into the vast Syrian Desert in Deir Ezzor and summarily executed – approximately 250,000 Armenians were massacred upon arrival.
This is not the first time that ISIS members have desecrated and destroyed a religious/historical landmark in Syria or Iraq. Clerics that empathize with ISIS religious beliefs have called for the destruction of all images and shrines due to their idolatrous nature. Iconoclasts have become prevalent in ISIS-controlled areas of Syria and Iraq, as the international outcry of condemnation does little to obstruct their behavior.