Director general of U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, Irina Bokova, announced on Thursday that any deliberate destruction of Palmyra would be "not just a war crime but... an enormous loss to humanity," according to a video statement.
"It belongs to the whole of humanity and I think everyone today should be worried about what is happening," Bokova explained.
She noted that Palmyra is an exceptional mix of culture and art, as it reflects all cultures.
"This is part of the financing of extremism and it is absolutely imperative that we stop these channels of illicit trafficking," Bokova added.
Located in an oasis, Palmyra was one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world in the first and second centuries of the Common Era, and an important resting point for caravans along the Silk Road, crossing the arid desert of central Syria.
On Wednesday, Islamic State operatives took full control of Palmyra, whose ruins are included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, among the many others in Syria endangered by the ongoing conflict in Syria.
At least 462 people have died during the IS offensive on Palmyra and in the central province of Homs.