Date
28 May 2017
A view of some of the ancient structures in the Syrian city of Palmyra. Photo: Reuters
A view of some of the ancient structures in the Syrian city of Palmyra. Photo: Reuters

Temple in IS-held Palmyra razed, satellite images confirm

Satellite images have confirmed that a temple in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra has been destroyed by Islamic State militants, according to the United Nations.

Syria’s antiquities chief had earlier said the basic structure of the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel in Palmyra was intact, following reports of an explosion at the site.

However, UNOSAT, an imagery analysis and satellite solutions provider under the UN, said the images show almost nothing remains, BBC News reported.

“Unfortunately, the images we acquired do show that the main building of the temple has been destroyed,” UNOSAT manager Einar Bjorg told the BBC early on Tuesday.

He added that a set of columns nearby had also been destroyed.

Maamoun Abdulkarim, the head of the Syrian Department of Antiquities and Museums, had earlier said the Temple of Bel suffered a large explosion, but that he believed most of the site had remained intact.

Witnesses, however, could not get near the site to confirm the extent of the damage.

The Temple of Bel is considered the most important structure of its kind at the site.

Last week, it was confirmed that another site at Palmyra, the Baalshamin temple, had been blown up. IS militants seized control of Palmyra in May.

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FL/CG

Satellite image of the Temple of Bel before the destruction. Photo: Reuters/UNOSAT


Satellite image of the Temple of Bel after the destruction. Photo: Reuters/UNOSAT


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