Airstrikes to save lives may be in question because of the understanding between coalition and Assad. How else do they save these people?
Islamic State fighters have executed at least 400 people in Palmyra since capturing the ancient Syrian city four days ago, Syrian state media said on Sunday.
It was not immediately possible to verify the account, but it was consistent with reports by activists that the Islamist fighters had carried out executions since capturing the city from government troops.
The militants seized the city of 50,000 people, site of some of the world’s most extensive and best preserved ancient Roman ruins, on Wednesday, days after also capturing the city of Ramadi in neighboring Iraq.
U.S AIRSTRIKES MAY BE OFF LIMITS IN PALMYRA
The U.S.-led coalition bombing Islamic State terrorists in Syria is unlikely to attack the extremists who have seized the ancient city of Palmyra and its archaeological treasures, according to a senior Defense Department official.
There is a tacit understanding between the coalition and Bashar Assad’s Syrian government that Palmyra and other areas, particularly those protected by modern air defenses, are off limits to airstrikes, said the official who was not authorized to speak publicly about operations in Iraq and Syria.
Another Defense department official would not rule out airstrikes in the future, but said they were unlikely in the short term due to the concerns about the air defenses, lack of intelligence to target precisely and the risk of civilian casualties.
“Just can’t say definitively that you won’t see strikes,” the second official said. “We’ll keep that option on the table.”
On Wednesday, the chief of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) called on the international community to protect the city’s civilians and its ancient treasures, which the organization has declared a World Heritage Site. The ruins, northeast of Damascus, date to a great city of the 1st and 2nd centuries whose architecture and art blends Roman, Persian and local influences.
Among its iconic sights is a long, colonnaded street.
“I am deeply concerned by the situation at the site of Palmyra,” Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, said in a statement. “The fighting is putting at risk one of the most significant sites in the Middle East, and its civilian population.”
Via: USA Today