Islamic State militants have blown up the Syrian World Heritage site of Palmyra. The ancient temple of Baalshamin, one of the most important ’Silk Road’ ruins, has been reduced to rubble, Syrian officials have confirmed
The temple was blown up on Sunday, Syria’s head of antiquities commented. IS took control of Palmyra in May, alerting the community to its imminent destruction.Palmyra is considered one of the ancient world’s most important Greco-Roman archaeological sites.
Last week it was reported that Khaled al-Asaad, the well respected Archaeologist who worked to preserve the ancient ruins of Palmyra in Syria for over 40 years was beheaded by Islamic State (IS) militants.
The Unesco World Heritage site, is known for its well-preserved ruins, and the Baalshamin temple, built nearly 2,000 years ago, is one of the worlds best-known buildings.
IS has obliterated several ancient sites in Iraq stating that any shrines or statues should be destroyed as they conflict with their Muslim beliefs and should be considered idols.
Syrian officials stated that IS “placed a large quantity of explosives in the temple of Baalshamin and then blew it up, causing much damage to the temple,” Syrian antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim told AFP news agency. “The cella (inner area of the temple) was destroyed and the columns around collapsed,” he said.