Mario Burns – ISIS militants destroyed The Baalshamin temple in the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria on Sunday according to witnesses. There were conflicting reports on the exact date and time of the destruction. The Shrine stood for nearly 2,000 years.
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, condemned the act as a war crime and an “immense loss” for humanity. “Daesh [ISIS] is killing people and destroying sites, but cannot silence history and will ultimately fail to erase this great culture from the memory of the world,” said Bokova, warning that Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq are engaged in the “most brutal, systematic” destruction of ancient sites since World War II. Considering the amount of destruction caused this year by the militant group, the warning should ring loud and clear.
Maamoun Abdulkarim, Syria’s head of antiques, confirmed sources in Palmyra informed him that ISIS members blew up the Temple of Baalshamin with explosives
“They destroyed an incredibly important architectural structure,” Abdulkarim said. “It is the first structure in the Palmyra complex to be destroyed, although they recently destroyed two Islamic shrines nearby.
“They said they would destroy the statues but not the structures themselves inside Palmyra. They lied.”
Palmyra, the “pearl of the desert”, used to be one of Syria’s most popular tourist attractions. Receiving more than 150,000 tourists a year before the Syrian conflict. Now much of its heritage lays in blood and ruins. ISIS militants continue to enslave, rape, and kill anyone that they can by using their twisted form of Islam, while continuing to destroy anything they consider idolatrous
This news comes on the heels of ISIS militants publicly beheading Khaled al-As’ad, the former general manager of antiques and museums in Palmyra and the demolition of the ancient Mar Elian monastery.