Daesh’s destruction of ancient treasures at Nimrud in Iraq is “an assault on the heritage of the Iraqi and Syrian people by an organization with a bankrupt and toxic ideology,” Secretary of State John Kerry said March 6.

“This crude attempt to erase the heritage of an ancient civilization will ultimately fail. No terrorist can rewrite history.”

Press reports said Daesh terrorists began bulldozing the ancient city of Nimrud, founded by the Assyrians in the 13th century B.C.E., on March 5. The terror group has an appalling history of destroying Iraqi and Syrian cultural heritage, including the 2014 destruction of the Mosque of the Prophet Younis in Mosul, Iraq.

The Iraqi government recently nominated Nimrud for placement on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites. Kerry said Daesh’s “twisted goal” is to rewrite history in its own brutal image.

“And just as the United States stands with the Iraqi and Syrian people in their fight against brutality, we also recognize the need to preserve national treasures — a critical component of a unified society,” Kerry said.

In August 2014, the State Department partnered with the American Schools of Oriental Research to create the Syrian Heritage Initiative to protect cultural property in Syria and areas of Iraq outside of Iraqi government control.