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THIS 200 YEAR OLD TEMPLE WAS JUST DESTROYED BY ISIS MUSLIMS

By: Bassem Mroue The Associated Press, Published on Sun Aug 23 2015
BEIRUT—Islamic State militants have destroyed a temple at Syria’s ancient ruins of Palmyra, activists said Sunday, realizing the worst fears archeologists had for the 2,000-year-old Roman-era city after the extremists seized it and beheaded a local scholar.
Palmyra, one of the Middle East’s most spectacular archeological sites and a UNESCO World Heritage site, sits near the modern Syrian city of the same name.
Activists said the militants used explosives to blow up the Baalshamin Temple on its grounds, the blast so powerful it also damaged some of the Roman columns around it.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday night that the temple was blown up a month ago. Turkey-based activist Osama al-Khatib, who is originally from Palmyra, said the temple was blown up Sunday. Both said the extremists used a large amount of explosives to destroy it.
Both activists relied on information for those still in Palmyra and the discrepancy in their accounts could not be immediately reconciled, though such contradictory information is common in Syria’s long civil war.
A picture taken on March 14, 2014 shows the Temple of Baal Shamin seen through two Corinthian columns in the ancient oasis city of Palmyra, 215 kilometres northeast of Damascus. Islamic State group jihadists on August 23, 2015 blew up the ancient temple of Baal Shamin in the UNESCO-listed Syrian city of Palmyra, the country's antiquities chief told AFP. "Daesh placed a large quantity of explosives in the temple of Baal Shamin today and then blew it up causing much damage to the temple," said Maamoun Abdulkarim, using another name for IS. IS, which controls swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq, captured Palmyra on May 21, sparking international concern about the fate of the heritage site described by UNESCO as of "outstanding universal value".
JOSEPH EID / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

A picture taken on March 14, 2014 shows the Temple of Baal Shamin seen through two Corinthian columns in the ancient oasis city of Palmyra, 215 kilometres northeast of Damascus. Islamic State group jihadists on August 23, 2015 blew up the ancient temple of Baal Shamin in the UNESCO-listed Syrian city of Palmyra, the country's antiquities chief told AFP. "Daesh placed a large quantity of explosives in the temple of Baal Shamin today and then blew it up causing much damage to the temple," said Maamoun Abdulkarim, using another name for IS. IS, which controls swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq, captured Palmyra on May 21, sparking international concern about the fate of the heritage site described by UNESCO as of "outstanding universal value".

The fate of the nearby Temple of Bel, dedicated to the Semitic god Bel, was not immediately known. Islamic State group supporters on social media also did not immediately mention the temple’s destruction.
The Sunni extremists, who have imposed a violent interpretation of Islamic law across their self-declared “caliphate” in territory they control in Syria and Iraq, claim ancient relics promote idolatry and say they are destroying them as part of their purge of paganism. However, they are also believed to sell off looted antiquities, bringing in significant sums of cash.
Al-Khatib said the Baalshamin Temple is about 500 metres (550 yards) from the Palmyra’s famous amphitheatre where the group killed more than 20 Syrian soldiers after they captured the historic town in May.
The temple dates to the first century and is dedicated to the Phoenician god of storms and fertilizing rains.
The head of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, said Friday that Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq are engaged in the “most brutal, systematic” destruction of ancient sites since World War II — a stark warning that came hours after militants demolished the St. Elian Monastery, which housed a fifth-century tomb and served as a major pilgrimage site. The monastery was in the town of Qaryatain in central Syria.
News of the temple’s destruction comes after relatives and witnesses said Wednesday that Khaled al-Asaad, an 81-year-old antiquities scholar who devoted his life to understanding Palmyra, was beheaded by Islamic State militants, his bloodied body hung on a pole. He even had named his daughter after Zenobia, the queen that ruled from the city 1,700 years ago.
Government forces and allied Sunni and Shiite militiamen have been battling the Islamic State militants in Anbar for months, but, hampered by suicide bombings and booby-trapped buildings, they have only made modest gains.
 

THIS 200 YEAR OLD TEMPLE WAS JUST DESTROYED BY ISIS MUSLIMS






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