Sunday February 17, 2019

17-year-old Assyrian Christian Artist Nenous Thabit is resisting Islamic State (ISIS) Terrorism with Art

The United Nations cultural agency UNESCO has condemned the destruction at Nimrud as a war crime

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Nenous Thabit, Facebook

November 21, 2016: A 17-year-old Assyrian Christian artist and sculptor is resisting terrorism – with art. Nenous Thabit, who is from Mosul, fled the Islamic State as the group overtook the area two years ago.

A year after the initial invasion, ISIS also destroyed the ancient city of Nimrud, which is near Mosul and contained many historic artefacts and priceless works of ancient art because to them, these mere relics only symbolised idol worshipping, mentioned CNN.

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The United Nations cultural agency UNESCO has condemned the destruction at Nimrud as a war crime. “They waged a war on art and culture, so I decided to fight them with art,” Thabit told CNN.

“In Iraq, there are people who are killed because they are sculptors; because they are artists. ISIS views them as apostate,” he told CNN in an interview over the phone.

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Over the past year, Thabit has sculpted 18 Assyrian statues and one mural; the report said. He has also started sculpting workshops for kids. The destruction included three Lamassu sculptures – depicting a deity with the head of a man, the legs of an ox, the body of a lion and the wings of a vulture. Thabit can make a new one in about 15 days. This assault on his heritage and culture made him realise his true potential and fight against evil in a nonviolent yet threatening way, mentioned CNN.

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In the video released by ISIS, it showed the militants using sledgehammers and electric drills in order to destroy the artefacts. Such insults to a 3,000-year-old city that stands as the pride of a community could not be tolerated by an art-lover like Thabit. He is now sculpting the statues that resembled some of those destroyed in Nimrud in an apartment in the Kurdish city of Urbil where he and his family took refuge, Assyrian International News Agency reported.

– prepared by NewsGram team

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Thousands Displaced as SDF Targeting Civilians Advances on Last IS Territory in Syria

Bali said the second obstacle for the SDF forces is that IS has a number of hostages who had been arrested and detained by the militants.

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Syria
A U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter stands atop a hill in the desert outside the village of Baghuz, Syria, Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

Islamic State (IS) fighters are targeting civilians who are trying to flee the last territory held by the terror group in eastern Syria, U.S.-backed forces told VOA on Thursday.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S.-backed Kurdish-led alliance, said that IS militants hit a road used by civilians to escape violence as the battle to free the town of Baghuz in Syria’s Deir el-Zour province enters its sixth day.

“IS has blocked that road to prevent civilians from coming to the SDF,” SDF fighter Ali Ahmed said. “They have targeted civilians there, but we have responded to their attacks against civilians.”

Ahmed said that some families of IS fighters are among the fleeing civilians.

Located near the Iraqi border, Baghuz is the last stronghold held by IS extremists in Syria. With the help of the U.S.-led coalition, SDF fighters have pushed out IS from all territories it once held since 2014.

Fierce fighting between IS militants and the U.S.-backed fighters continues as the latter try to gain ground on Baghuz on several fronts.

“We have two main obstacles as we advance on Baghuz,” Mustafa Bali, an SDF spokesperson, told VOA. “The first one is that [IS] terrorists are holding on to a number of civilians to use them as a bargain chip for their exit.”

Bali said the second obstacle for the SDF forces is that IS has a number of hostages who had been arrested and detained by the militants.

IS controls about 5 square kilometers of territory inside the Syrian town, local military officials said.

“It seems that even the Americans are trying to rescue those civilians and hostages from IS,” Hasib said in a phone interview. VOA

Ivan Hasib, a Syrian reporter covering the battle, told VOA that he witnessed an unusual movement by U.S. military vehicles in the area.

“It seems that even the Americans are trying to rescue those civilians and hostages from IS,” Hasib said in a phone interview.

He said the remaining IS fighters in Baghuz are hoping to exchange hostages for a safe exit into the Iraqi desert.

Also Read: Islamic State Using Women, Children as Human Shields to Postpone Defeat

“There must be some sort of negotiations between IS and SDF about the hostages, because even [U.S.-led] coalition airstrikes have stopped since Tuesday night,” Hasib said, adding that SDF fighters were forced to pause their military operations on the northeastern front in Baghuz.

“We can’t start marching toward it from this side because of civilians. Many civilians are using this road to this side. So we’re here to protect them,” Mezlum Kobani, an SDF commander, told VOA.

According to SDF officials, more than 5,000 civilians have been rescued from IS in Baghuz. (VOA)