The Islamic State terror group’s destruction of the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq represents “a battle of savagery against decency,” U.S. Col. Steve Warren told Fox News from Baghdad. Satellite photos obtained exclusively by The Associated Press confirm the worst fears of church authorities and preservationists — St. Elijah’s Monastery of Mosul has been completely wiped out.

For 1,400 years the compound survived assaults by nature and man, standing as a place of worship recently for U.S. troops. In earlier centuries, generations of monks tucked candles in the niches and prayed in the cool chapel. The Greek letters chi and rho, representing the first two letters of Christ’s name, were carved near the entrance. “This enemy has proven time and again its ruthlessness, its barbarity, its willingness to destroy everything from human life to civilian supporting infrastructure, to, you know, cultural artifacts, with absolute disregard for history, for humanity, or for anything that approaches decency,” Col. Warren added. FULL REPORT