ISIS Destroys Part of Ancient Roman Amphitheater in Syria’s Palmyra

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Islamic State militant group (ISIS) fighters have destroyed part of the Roman amphitheater in the ancient city of Palmyra, the Syrian director of antiquities confirmed Friday.

Maamoun Abdulkarim, speaking to Newsweek by phone, said the extremist group had also destroyed the tetrapylon, a cubic-shaped ancient Roman monument. He provided satellite images, given to him by the Boston-based ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiative and taken by satellite imagery company DigitalGlobe, that displayed the destruction.

“I am sure the future is very bad. It will be dramatic,” he says. “We are sure that the coming times may be worse than before.”

ISIS retook Palmyra in December, nine months after forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russian airstrikes, forced the group out of the city. ISIS had originally captured the city in May 2015.

The antiquities chief says that after the group initially captured Palmyra in May 2015, they started destroying monuments after severals months, but after recapturing it in December 2016, they damaged and destroyed these monuments after just two weeks.

“It is vengeance, they are here to make oppression on the culture,” Abdulkarim says. He called on the international community to intervene and help to protect and preserve the city’s ancient heritage.

State news agency SANA reported that ISIS militants had damaged “the facade” of the second century monument.

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SOURCE: Newsweek, Jack Moore