A Syrian antiquities chief, Maamoun Abdulkarim, has AFP how Islamic State militants on Sunday blew up the ancient temple of Baal Shamin in the UNESCO-listed Syrian city of Palmyra. It is the latest of such destruction by the group.
“Daesh placed a large quantity of explosives in the temple of Baal Shamin today and then blew it up causing much damage to the temple,” Syria’s antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim told AFP, using another name for IS.
“The cella (inner area of the temple) was destroyed and the columns around collapsed,” he said.
Known as the “Pearl of the desert”, Palmyra, which means City of Palms, is a well-preserved oasis 210 kilometres (130 miles) northeast of Damascus. The city is famed for well-preserved Greco-Roman ruins. Palmyra was seized from government forces in May by IS, which controls swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq.