Tanya Castillo

What is ISIS?

ISIS is a terrorist group that follows an Islamic ultrafundamentalist ideology and that controls a vast region across Iraq and Syria. It declares itself a war with all nations and with all people who do not meet its standards as "true" Muslims.

What are the goals of ISIS?

ISIS wants to rule, and if possible, expand its state where it wants to enforce fundamentalist rule. They want to restore the early Islamic empire called the caliphate and eventually take over the world. ISIS is not going to take over the world, but that very earnest ambition speaks to the fervency of its ideology.

Historical Sites that ISIS has destroyed

Khorsabad: A 2,700 year-old-city in northeastern Iraq, known for its colossal statues of winged bulls with human heads.

Known damage: The city walls were razed, and some elements of the temples, but they didn't know the exact extent of the damage. Looting took place, and then razing.

Why it matters: Assyrian King Sargon II built his palace here between 717 and 706 BC. Paint was still preserved, and so was written documentation about how its construction was organized. Some of the carvings of the winged bulls were shipped to Europe and the US in the 19th century, but experts say they were only a fraction of the artifacts of the site.

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Assyrian Lion Statues: They were originally from the Arslan Tash archaelogical site near Aleppo in Syria, they'd been moved to Raqqa city centre in the 1980's.

Known damage: They were destroyed by a bulldozer.

Why they matter: They were seated at the entrance gate of Arslan Tash, which was conquered by the Assyrians in the 9th century BC and had been part of an Iron Age Kingdom.

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The winged bulls at Nineveh: They stood at the Nergal at Ninevah for nearly 3,000 years, near Mosul, Iraq.

Known damage: Partially damaged by power tools.

Why they matter: They were one of the most important cultural centres in the ancient world enjoying a prominent role in the field of developing human civilization, in that it was the greatest metropolis where various branches of arts and learning originated.

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Mosque of the Prophet Younis (Jonah's Tomb): Located in Mosul, Iraq, near the walls of Nineveh.

Known damage: It was destroyed.

Why it matters: Believed to be the burial place of the prophet Jonah, who was swallowed by a whale in stories from both the bible and the Koran. It was built on an archaelogical site dating back to 8th century BC and attracted religious pilgrims from multiple faiths around the world.

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Sufi Shrines: Located in the Aleppo countryside in Syria

Known damage: Many destroyed.

Why they matter: Sufi Shrines are the tombs of Sufi saints. Shrines on the eastern Aleppo plateau have been destroyed, including the tomb of Meqam Shiekh Aqil al Manjab, an important Muslim mystic. Tombs along the road to Najim Castle as well as in front of the castle have been destroyed and those part of archaeological tells north of Aleppo have been bombed.

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