As the bombs rain down and the war in Yemen enters its fifth year, antiquities are looted and Yemen’s extraordinary cultural heritage of mosques, archaeological sites and ancient castles are razed and pillaged.
According to a report in The Guardian, at least 712 Mosques and more than 200 archeological sites have been affected.
Where these treasures aren’t looted for profit, they are targeted on purpose, to erase history and culture.
Even where it is mostly left alone, as with the ancient city of Shibam — the famed “Manhattan of the Desert,” a metropolis of mud-brick skyscrapers and part of ancient Sheba — the disappearance of government funding for preservation means that these historic edifices are falling apart from water, wind and heat damage.
As in other major conflict region, UNESCO, the United Nations cultural agency, has provided warring parties with no-strike lists.
Yet the coalition of combatants led by Saudi Arabia has largely ignored the lists — Saudi bombs have destroyed the Castle of Taiz, the Dhamar Museum, and many other locations.
Bombing has also destroyed a variety of Biblical monuments and artifacts, and partially destroyed the Great Dam of Marib — one of the oldest and most significant water-management structures on Earth.
The destruction of ancient historical structures and treasures is nothing new — religious extremists from ISIS to the Taliban have made it a common practice.
The difference today is that the civil war is largely a political, not religious, struggle.
Sources: The Guardian, Science, Fox News