• This picture released late Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, by an Islamic State militant-affiliated website, shows the ancient Monastery of the Saint Eliane near the town of Qaryatain which IS captured in early August, in Homs province, Syria. A priest and activists say the Islamic State group has demolished an ancient monastery in central Syria. A Christian clergyman told The Associated Press in Damascus that IS militants also wrecked a church inside the monastery that dates back to the first Christian centuries. The priest, who spoke Friday on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said the monastery included an Assyrian Catholic church. (Islamic State militant website via AP)

    UNESCO chief: IS systematically destroying heritage sites

    DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq are engaged in the “most brutal, systematic” destruction of ancient sites since World War II, the head of the U.N. cultural agency said Friday — a stark warning that came hours after militants demolished a monastery with ancient foundations in central Syria.