Graffiti sprayed by Islamic State militants which reads ''We remain'' is seen on a stone at the Temple of Bel in the historic city of Palmyra, in Homs Governorate, Syria April 1, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadik/File Photo
Reuters: Italy wins G7 backing for U.N. peacekeeping force for culture
The G7 group of rich nations committed on Friday to pursuing the creation of a U.N. peacekeeping force to protect world heritage sites from destruction in conflict and combating the trafficking of plundered treasures.
Destroying antiquities at heritage sites like the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra and the shrines of Timbuktu in Mali has increasingly become a tactic of war for groups like Islamic State, both to feed propaganda and profit from smuggling, the United Nations says.
The G7 nations -- Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Britain, the United States and Italy -- signed an accord in the Italian city of Florence, cradle of the Renaissance, to strengthen international collaboration to protect cultural heritage.
Armed U.N. peacekeepers deployed in countries like Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Syria are commonly known as "Blue Helmets".
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WNU Editor: UN peace keeping forces have a lot of problems protecting people .... protecting heritage sites would be difficult because it would result in 2 things .,.. (1) that is where the refugees would flee to, and (2) these UN peacekeepers would be stationary targets for those who oppose an international presence in their country, hence attracting the fighting to the sites that they are trying to protect.