While there is a lot of focus on the recent takeover of Palmyra in Syria by the Islamic State due to its UNESCO World Heritage Site status, less attention has been paid to the residents of those areas. Loveday Morris of the Washington Post joins Hari Sreenivasan from Baghdad, Iraq, via Skype.
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HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR:
Returning to Iraq and Syria and ISIS gains in the region, I'm joined now from Baghdad via Skype, Washington Post reporter Loveday Morris.
So, let's start in Palmyra. It gets a lot of press because it's a U.N. World Heritage site, but there are also people and human beings there. What's life like now that ISIS is in control?
LOVEDAY MORRIS, WASHINGTON POST:
The Syrian regime actually said that when they withdrew, they allowed the civilians out, but talking to people there, that's not the case. There are still a lot of civilians trapped there.
As soon as ISIS came in, they made announcement from the loud speakers of the mosque for people to hand over collaborators and there were bodies found in the street, of people who were suspected to be opposition.
And any word that the relics in the U.N. World Heritage sites are in imminent danger?
Have there been any videos of them destroying artifacts?
No, not as of yet. And speaking to people in Palmyra, they said that ISIS aren't really in that heritage site yet.
They are much more focused on the weapons depots and generally securing the town and getting a military grip.
If you look at other areas that they have taken in Iraq where they destroyed antiquities, it's not been for a few weeks at least and sometimes even months after they have taken areas that they have actually destroyed this cultural heritage.
You sometimes notice that maybe when — they're very media-savvy, when the story dies down, they'll release a video of them doing something like destroying a heritage site.
So, it's possible we won't see any of that for a while, but obviously, there's great concern for the heritage.
All right. Loveday Morris of The Washington Post — joining us via Skype from Baghdad — thanks so much.