Terrorists of the Islamic State (IS) group blew up the facade of the Roman amphitheater and the tetrapylon in the ancient city of Palmyra.
Terrorists of the Islamic State (IS) group blew up the facade of the Roman amphitheater in Palmyra, which is considered to be one of the main landmarks of the ancient city, the SANA news agency reported, citing its own sources in Palmyra.
In addition to the amphitheater, terrorists also destroyed the tetrapylon – a ruined building with four inputs.
The information about the destruction of the buildings was confirmed by Directorate-General for Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) in the Syrian Arab Republic.
Press secretary of the Russian President, Dmitry Peskov, said that the actions of IS terrorists, who ruined the ancient buildings, are “barbaric.” He stressed that “what is happening is a real tragedy, a tragedy in terms of the loss of the world’s cultural and historical heritage.”
UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said that the destruction is a “new war crime,” as well as an “immense loss for the Syrian people and for humanity.” She stressed that IS terrorists are “seeking to destroy both human lives and historical monuments in order to deprive the Syrian people of its past and its future.”
On May 5, 2016, a concert of the Mariinsky Theatre’s Orchestra, dedicated to the liberation of the ancient city from IS terrorists, took place at the amphitheater of Palmyra.
After the first capture of Palmyra, terrorists sold artifacts, which they found there, and blew up ancient buildings, which, in their opinion, was at variance with Islam. In particular, they destroyed the temples of Bel and Baalshamin, the triumphal arc and several funerary towers. Director of the local archaeological museum, Khaled al-Asaad, was also killed by terrorists on the ruins of Palmyra.
In March 2016, the Syrian Armed Forces, backed up by the Russian Aerospace Forces, liberated Palmyra. Russian sappers cleared the city of mines, and archeologists created a 3D-map of Palmyra, which would help to restore the ruined monuments in future.
However, in December, the IS concentrated its forces to the east of the city and launched a large-scale offensive on it. On December 11, terrorists took full control over Palmyra, and the Syrian army was forced to retreat to the west, to the T-4 airfield.
The day before, the Russia’s General Staff said that IS terrorists sent a large quantity of explosives to Palmyra in order to destroy the ancient monuments.