Tags: palmyra | isis | syria | monument

Palmyra: ISIS Destroys Ancient Structures in Syrian City

Image: Palmyra: ISIS Destroys Ancient Structures in Syrian City

Ancient Roman town in Palmyra (Tadmor), Syria, seen on Oct. 28, 2009. (Dbajurin/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 20 Jan 2017 11:52 AM

Historic structures in Palmyra, Syria, were destroyed by ISIS militants, who demolished an ancient monument and part of a second-century Roman amphitheater there.

It appeared ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State, intentionally destroyed a tetrapylon, a square structure of pillars that each had four columns, SANA, a Syrian state news agency, reported. Two columns were still standing. The militants reportedly used explosives for the severe damage and also destroyed the façade of the amphitheater.

The destruction of Palmyra’s ancient structures may be part of ISIS’ ongoing goal of destroying historic sites, which has been deemed “cultural cleansing” following demolishing of other sites in Syria, Iraq, and Libya, The New York Times reported.

The damage to the Palmyra sites probably occurred on Jan. 11 and may be a way for ISIS to demonstrate its force even though the militant group remains under siege in Syria and Iraq, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. ISIS also rejects historic monuments and symbols it believes do not adhere to the strict interpretation of the Islamic religion.

The attack on Syria’s heritage is like “a horror film,” according to Maamoun Abdulkarim, the nation’s director of antiquities, The Guardian reported.

“Palmyra is occupied and there is no outrage from the international community,” Abdulkarim said. He predicted Palmyra could see more destruction of historic artifacts as long as the city is under the control of ISIS. “My heart is in those buildings,” he added.

ISIS first occupied Palmyra, a city known for its preserved ancient ruins, in May 2015, but was driven back by Syrian and Russian forces in March. However, ISIS militants regained the city in December and began destroying museums and ruins in Palmyra.

Along with destroying the Temple of Bel, a 2,000-year-old structure, and other monuments, ISIS also killed prominent archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad.

The Roman amphitheater was the location of a victory concert in May by the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra of Russia.

The latest destruction is a loss for the Syrian people and “a new blow against cultural heritage,” Irina Bokova, director general of Unesco, the UN cultural organization, said, according to The Guardian.

Syrian archaeologists had feared destruction of historic monuments in the area and moved some 400 statues to Damascus, but many structures and artifacts remain in Palmyra.

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Historic structures in Palmyra, Syria, were destroyed by ISIS militants, who demolished an ancient monument and part of a second-century Roman amphitheater there.
palmyra, isis, syria, monument
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2017-52-20
Friday, 20 Jan 2017 11:52 AM
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