Syrians: The west is more worried about ancient relics here than people's lives

The city’s residents “believe that the international community cares about the stone statues much more than about us,” Nasser Al-Saer, a member of the city’s local community council told NBC News. “There is a general disappointment or a discontent by the people.”

He said that with all attention on the ruins, some people “actually want ISIS to destroy the relics and museums in response to the silence of the international community about what is happening here.”

While residents value the ancient site, Nasser Al-Saer said the community is facing more pressing problems, including shortages of food, water and medicines. Locals also are terrified by the airstrikes launched by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad, “which don’t distinguish between civilians and ISIS.”

“The future is unclear,” he said. “People are afraid.”