Monday, 24 August 2015

Isis 'blows up temple dating back to 17AD' in Palmyra

Islamic State blew up the ancient temple of Baal Shamin in the Unesco-listed Syrian city of Palmyra, the country’s antiquities chief has said.

Daesh placed a large quantity of explosives in the temple of Baal Shamin ... and then blew it up causing much damage to the temple,” said Maamoun Abdulkarim, using another name for Isis.

Our darkest predictions are unfortunately taking place

Isis, which controls swaths of Syria and neighbouring Iraq, captured Palmyra on 21 May, sparking international concern about the fate of the heritage site described byUnesco as of outstanding universal value. “The [inner area of the temple] was destroyed and the columns around collapsed,” said Abdulkarim.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group that monitors the country’s civil war, confirmed the destruction of the temple.

Baal Shamin was built in 17AD and it was expanded under the reign of Roman emperor Hadrian in 130AD. Known as the Pearl of the Desert, Palmyra, which means City of Palms, is a well-preserved oasis 130 miles north-east of Damascus.

Its name first appeared on a tablet in the 19th century BC as a stopping point for caravans travelling on the Silk Road and between the Gulf and the Mediterranean. But it was during the Roman Empire – beginning in the first century BC and lasting another 400 years – that Palmyra rose to prominence.
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