Islamic State has destroyed temple in Syria's Palmyra


Islamic State militants have destroyed a temple in the ancient ruins of Palmyra, a Syrian government official and an opposition monitoring group said on Monday.

The Baalshamin temple, one of the best preserved in the ancient city, was blown up on Sunday, the Syrian head of antiquities and museums, Maamoun Abdulkarim, told dpa.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said civilians who had escaped from Palmyra in recent weeks had confirmed to its activists that the temple had been blown up.

Islamic State captured Palmyra, an oasis town and former trading centre in the Syrian desert, from government forces in May.

Last week, the extremists beheaded Khaled al-Asaad, who had served as the city's chief archaeologist for some 40 years.

The temple of Baalshamin was built some 2,000 years ago, and, although small, is one of the city's best preserved structures. It is considered one of the most important temples in Palmyra, reflecting the city's pre-Islamic religion, Abdulkarim said. "I'm very afraid, very pessimistic for the future of the city," he added.    (dpa)

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