Cultural icons such as the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and Indigenous sacred sites could and should be protected in possible conflicts

The senseless destruction of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul last week is not only a monumental loss for the people of Iraq but for all humanity. The 12th century place of worship and its famed leaning minaret were landmarks in the Old City and featured on local currency.

Attacks on cultural property – also demonstrated by the recent destruction of ancient Roman ruins in Palmyra, Syria, the oldest Christian monastery in Mosul, Iraq, along with mausoleums and shrines in Timbuktu, Mali – reveal a worrying and unacceptable trend in modern armed conflict.

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