Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:49PM
Daesh terrorists use a bulldozer to destroy the ancient monastery of Mar Elian in the central Syrian town of al-Qaryatain on August 21, 2015. (AFP photo)
Daesh terrorists use a bulldozer to destroy the ancient monastery of Mar Elian in the central Syrian town of al-Qaryatain on August 21, 2015. (AFP photo)

The Daesh terrorist group has demolished the ancient Christian monastery of Mar Elian in the central Syrian province of Homs. 

The extremist group posted photos on social media on Friday showing bulldozers near the town of al-Qaryatayn destroying the historic monastery, which was founded more than 1,500 years ago.

Sources say ISIL militants also destroyed a church inside the monastery that dates back to the fifth century.

The terrorists reportedly overran al-Qaryatayn following violent clashes with Syrian soldiers in early August.

The terrorist group has also kidnapped at least 230 residents, including dozens of Christians, over the past days.  

In February, the Takfiri group kidnapped more than 220 Assyrian Christians after seizing several farming communities on the southern bank of the Khabur River in the northeastern province of Hasakah.

The terrorist group has destroyed a large number of mosques, churches, and archaeological sites across Syria in recent years. 

In July, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) warned that Daesh militants were looting ancient sites across Iraq and Syria on an "industrial scale"UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova told a meeting of experts in London that the militant group has been selling treasures to middlemen to raise cash and revenues.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had earlier urged an immediate action to save cultural sites in the crisis-hit countries, adding that “the protection of cultural heritage is a security imperative.” 

Both nations’ historical sites have suffered widespread looting and damage by Takfiri militants in recent years. The extremists have also demolished several holy shrines belonging to Shia and Sunni Muslims in the militancy-riddled regions of Syria and Iraq.