Islamic State militants destroyed the ancient temple of Baal Shamin in the City of Palmyra in Syria with large quantities of explosives.
“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, Syria’s director-general of antiquities and museums.
“The inner area of the temple was destroyed and the columns around collapsed,” he added.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group that monitors the country’s civil war, confirmed the destruction of the temple on May 21 but Abdulkarim said it was destroyed on Sunday.
The temple of Baal Shamin was built in 17AD, expanded under the reign of Roman emperor Hadrian in 130AD.
The temple is found in the city of Palmyra, which means the City of Palms, and is known as the Pearl of the Desert. The city is a well-preserved oasis 130 miles north-east of Damascus.
Abdulkarim called the destruction of the temple “a loss for all Syrians and for the international community.”
“They destroyed an incredibly important architectural structure,” Abdulkarim said.
“It is the first structure in the Palmyra complex to be destroyed, although they recently destroyed two Islamic shrines nearby.”
“They said they would destroy the statues but not the structures themselves inside Palmyra. They lied.”
“UNESCO Director-General IrinaBokova firmly condemns the destruction of Palmyra’s ancient temple of Baalshamin,” according to a UNESCO statement.
The Ancient temple destroyed by ISIS is one of Middle East’s most spectacular archaeological and UNESCO World Heritage site. UNESCO chief Irina Bokova called it a “war crime.”
ISIS carried out executions in the ancient theatre of Palmyra, they destroyed in July the famous Lion Statue of Athena and transformed the museum into a prison and a courtroom.
“Our darkest predictions are unfortunately taking place,” said Abdulkarim. IMAGE/wikipedia.org/ Wikipedia