Satellite images show 2nd ancient temple destroyed in Palmyra: UN

  • Agencies, Damascus
  • Updated: Sep 03, 2015 21:18 IST
Combination picture shows the site of the Temple of Bel before (top) and after its apparent destruction in Palmyra, Syria. (Unitar-Unosat/Handout via Reuters)

The United Nations says that a satellite image confirms that the main building of the ancient Temple of Bel in the Syrian town of Palmyra has been destroyed.

There had been reports that a large explosion set off by Islamic State militants Sunday had extensively damaged the 2,000-year-old temple, but there were conflicting accounts regarding the extent of the destruction.

Einar Bjorgo, manager of UN satellite analysts UNOSAT, says a satellite image taken Monday "unfortunately shows the destruction of the temple's main building" as well as "a row of columns in its immediate vicinity."

The IS group, which captured Palmyra from forces loyal to President Bashar Assad in May, destroyed the smaller Temple of Baalshamin in the complex last week and posted images of the destruction days later.

The group had also beheaded the 82-year-old former antiquities chief in Palmyra and destroyed a famed statue outside its museum.

The extremist group's harsh interpretation of Islam considers statues and grave markers to be idolatrous, but it has also been accused of destroying heritage sites to loot items for the black market and to gain publicity.

Read|IS destroys part of Syria's ancient Temple of Bel: monitors

also read

Clinton and Obama: First ladies make an odd political couple
Show comments