Image credit: Arian Zwegers
Satellite images obtained by the United Nations revealed that the remains of an ancient temple in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Syria Palmyra were destroyed by the ISIS militants.
The Temple of Bel was the main temple of Palmyra and attracted 150,000 visitors annually before the war. The Temple of Bel is the second significant monument of Palmyra which was destroyed by the ISIS in a week as they destroyed the Temple of Baalshamin last week.
Before the UN satellite images proved the destruction of the Temple of Bel, the head of the Syrian Department of Antiquities and Museums Maamoun Abdul Karim claimed that despite of the large explosion which took place in the site, the temple was believed to be intact. However, it has been proved that the ISIS militants keep performing their systematical destruction of the ancient monuments of Iraq and Syria under the pretext of removing heretical symbols.
It is a known fact that the ISIS militants put forth their religious claims in order to hide their primary aims such as funding their warfare through selling the historical artifacts that they remove from the ancient sites of Syria and Iraq.
The ruins of Palmyra are especially exploited by the militants due to their significance and value. The Greco-Roman ruins of Palmyra are regarded as one of the most important cultural remains which belong to the ancient world.
The ancient city of Palmyra is situated in the north east of the Syrian capital Damascus. The nearby towns witness conflicts constantly.
Earlier in August, the militants killed the chief archaeologist of Palmyra, 81-year-old Khaled al-Asaad after he refused to reveal the location of the treasures which were taken from Palmyra.
The authorities and the locals are worried about the destruction of the rest of the site as the militants prepare to turn the two-millennia-old ancient monuments into dust.