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PHOTO GALLERY: Syria's Palmyra scarred forever by IS group


Palmyra's museum
A combination of images shows a file photo (top) of a sculpture depicting a rich family from the ancient Syrian oasis city of Palmyra, and the statues after being beheaded are seen in the destroyed Palmyra's museum (bottom) on March 31, 2016 (AFP)
Palmyra's museum
A general view shows destruction in Palmyra's museum in the ancient Syrian city on March 31, 2016 (AFP)
Palmyra's museum
A general view shows destruction in Palmyra's museum in the ancient Syrian city on March 31, 2016 (AFP)
Statue of Athena
In this photo taken on April 18, 2008, tourists look at a statue of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom (top/Reuters). The beheaded and mutilated statue is pictured on March 31, 2016 in the destroyed museum in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra (bottom/AFP)
The Great Colonnade of Palmyra
An undated file photo released by UNESCO shows the Great Colonnade in the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria (top/AP), and a view of the Colonnade of Palmyra taken on March 31, 2016 (Bottom/AFP)
Baal Shamin Temple
A general view taken on March 31, 2016 shows a photographer holding his picture of the Temple of Baal Shamin seen through two Corinthian columns taken on March 14, 2014 in front of the remains of the historic temple after it was destroyed by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in September 2015 in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra (AFP)
Baal Shamin Temple
A general view shows the temple of Baal Shamin in the historical city of Palmyra, Syria taken on October 22, 2009 (top/Reuters) and an undated image, which appears to be a screenshot from a video and which was published by the Islamic State group on August 25, 2015, allegedly shows smoke billowing from the Baal Shamin temple (bottom/AFP)
Arch of Triumph
A general view taken on March 31, 2016 shows a photographer holding his picture of the Arc du Triomphe (Triumph's Arch) taken on March 14, 2014 in front of the remains of the historic monument after it was destroyed by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in October 2015 in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra (AFP)
Arch of Triumph
A general view taken on March 31, 2016 shows a photographer holding his picture of the Arc du Triomphe (Triumph's Arch) taken on March 14, 2014 in front of the remains of the historic monument after it was destroyed by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in October 2015 in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra (AFP)
Arch of Triumph
A combination of images shows a general view (top) taken on June 19, 2010 of the Arc de Troimphe (Triumph's Arc) prior to being destroyed by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in October 2015 and the remains of the iconic structure after government troops recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra from IS fighters on March 27, 2016 (AFP)
Temple of Bel
Satellite images of the Temple of Bel in Syria's city of Palmyra on August 27, 2015 (L) and rubble seen at the temple's location on August 31, 2015 (R) (AFP)
Temple of Bel
A combination of images shows an undated file photo (top) of the iconic Temple of Bel prior to being blown up by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in September 2015, and the remains of the temple on March 31, 2016 (AFP)
Temple of Bel
A general view taken on March 31, 2016 shows a photographer holding his picture of the Temple of Bel taken on March 14, 2014 in front of the remains (far-L) of the historic temple after it was destroyed by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in September 2015 in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra (AFP)
Fakhr-al-Din al-Ma'ani Castle
A combination of images shows a file photo (top) taken on May 18, 2015, of Fakhr-al-Din al-Ma'ani Castle, known as Palmyra citadel and the remains of the castle on a hilltop in the ancient city of Palmyra, some 215 kilometres northeast of Damascus, March 31, 2016 (AFP)
Temple of Bel
A general view taken on March 31, 2016 shows a photographer holding his picture of the Temple of Bel taken on March 14, 2014 in front of the remains of the historic temple after it was destroyed by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in September 2015 in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra (AFP)
Temple of Bel
A general view taken on March 31, 2016 shows a photographer holding his picture of the Temple of Bel taken on March 14, 2014 in front of the remains of the historic temple after it was destroyed by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in September 2015 in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra (AFP)
Roman theatre
A combination of images shows a file photo (top/Reuters) taken on April 18, 2008 of the iconic Roman theatre and the remains of the theatre (bottom/AP) at the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria, on Friday, April 2, 2016, where IS jihadists used to film executions.
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Images of ancient city of Palmyra before and after Islamist militant destruction

On the rocks at the entrance to the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel, Islamist militants have written in black: "The Islamic State. No entry for civilians or brothers (fighters)."

While the temple's outer walls, main entrance and courtyard have survived, the main cella or prayer chamber has been destroyed, according to AFP journalists who visited the world heritage site.

Ochre and beige-coloured blocks of stone that once formed the cella walls, rooftop and eight 16-metre (52-foot) tall fluted columns now lie on the ground.

The city was recaptured on 26 of March by Syrian and Russian troops who drove out IS group militants who had occupied it for 10 months.

In Palmyra's stunning Roman theatre, militants have written their names on one wall while another is riddled with bullet marks. It was at this second-century structure that the children of IS group fighters were made to kill army soldiers in public executions.

Where the cella of the shrine of Baal Shamin once stood, only four columns now remain. And the remains of the Arch of Triumph, dating back to the era of Roman Emperor Severus in the third century, lie on the ground, leaving only the two columns that once sustained the central crown still standing.

Syria's antiquities director Maamoun Abdulkarim says he is hopeful that part of the temple can be restored now that the militants have fled.

At the National Museum, the Islamist militants committed some of their worst atrocities against Palmyra's heritage. They threw several of the city's famed busts of large-eyed, ornately dressed women to the ground. They mutilated portraits. They erased the painted faces of dinner guests portrayed in ornate frescoes of funerary banquets.

"Experts believe that 30 percent of the old city of Palmyra has been destroyed," said provincial governor Talal Barazi, who came to inspect the damage.

*This text was edited by Ahram Online
 

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