2000-year-old Syrian temple destroyed by IS in Palmyra


One of the most important temples at the ancient Syrian site of Palmyra has been destroyed by Islamic State, says various media reports.

Quoting activists and eye witnesses, BBC reported that the extent of the damage to the ‘2,000-year-old Temple of Bel is not clear’ but local residents have said a large explosion had shaken the area around the temple’s site.

Last week, IS had reportedly blown up another ancient temple not far from Palmyra.

Fears for the ancient site had grown soon after the militant group had taken control of Palmyra in May.

One Palmyra resident told news agency Associated Press, ” It is total destruction. The bricks and columns are on the ground. It was an explosion the deaf would hear. Now only the wall of the temple remains.”

The temple was dedicated to the Palmyrene gods and was one of the best preserved parts of the site.

The archaeologist, who had looked after the Palmyra ruins for 40 years, was murdered by IS in early August this year with the family claiming that the 81-year-old Khaled al-Asaad being beheaded.

Reacting to Al-Asaad’s murder, the Unesco Director General Irina Bokova had said that IS “murdered a great man, but they will never silence history.”

The modern city of Palmyra, is also known as Tadmur and situated in a strategically important area on the road between the Syrian capital, Damascus, and the eastern city of Deir al-Zour.

IS has used Palmyra’s theatre to stage the public execution by children of more than 20 captured Syrian army soldiers.