ISIS militants have destroyed the ruins of an ancient temple in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Palmyra in Syria, officials and activists said Sunday, in another incidence of the extremists desecrating relics from history in the name of religion.
Described by UNESCO as an “oasis in the Syrian desert,” the World Heritage site of Palmyra features spectacular ruins that were once a “great city that was one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world.”
However, ISIS fighters seized the city ruins in May and set to work selling off some antiquities on the black market, while destroying other idols and sites that the group believes go against their version of Islam.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group, said Sunday that the ruins of the Baalshemin temple were blown up by the extremists one month ago.
However, Syrian antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim told Agence France-Presse the destruction occurred on Sunday.