Tuesday 22 May 2018

UN images confirm destruction of temple

Columns are seen in the historical city of Palmyra.
Columns are seen in the historical city of Palmyra.
Combination picture shows the site of the Temple of Bel before (top) and after its apparent destruction in Palmyra, Syria.

Sylvia Westall in Beirut

Satellite images have confirmed the destruction of the main building of a Roman-era temple in the Syrian city of Palmyra, a UN agency said, after activists said the hardline Islamic State group had targeted it.

The images show the remains of the Temple of Bel at the UNESCO World Heritage site, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) said on Twitter.

"Satellite analysis confirms Temple of Bel ... main building destroyed," it said, posting aerial pictures of the site.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group and other activists said on Sunday that Islamic State had destroyed part of the temple, one of Palmyra's most important sites. This came a week after the militants blew up another smaller temple in the central desert city.

Islamic State has declared a caliphate in territory it holds across Syria and Iraq and has destroyed other monuments it says are sacrilegious.

Irish Independent

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