The true scale of damage inflicted on the ancient city of Nimrud by ISIS has become clear, two days after the Iraqi army managed to secure the site.
Nimrud – an ancient Assyrian city dating back 3,300 years – is one of the most precious ancient Mesopotamian ruins in existence.
Sadly, pictures and video taken there on Tuesday show the overwhelming extent of the destruction.
Engraved friezes and statues of winged bulls and lions have been reduced to rubble, and the complex’s most striking feature – a stepped pyramid known as a ziggurat – has been bulldozed to a fraction of its former height.
“When you came here before, you could imagine the life as it used to be. Now there is nothing,” tribal militia commander Ali al-Bayati, visiting the site for the first time in two years told AFP.
“One hundred per cent has been destroyed,” he added. “Losing Nimrud is more painful to me than even losing my own house.”
Intricate temple friezes have been bulldozed by Isis at Nimrud (AFP)
Isis propaganda videos of militants smashing precious frescos and tombs of Assyrian kings with sledgehammers as well as dynamiting temples and other buildings in Nimrud in 2015 were condemned as an attack on “the world’s shared heritage” by Unesco, the UN’s cultural body.
Locals whose families had protected and preserved the ruins for decades mourned its loss, however, as the evidence suggested there is not much left to celebrate.