Islamic State destroys ancient temple in Syria


Photo purporting to show the destruction of Baalshamin

The Islamic State has released photos purporting to show the destruction of the ancient Baalshamin temple in the city of Palmyra in Syria. The temple was said to have been built by the Romans over 2,000 years ago.

The photos show Islamic State militants moving explosives into the temple and on the outside of the structure. The last image in the series shows the temple exploding. It is unclear when the temple was destroyed. Some sources said the detonation too place as late as over the weekend, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that it was destroyed last month.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released a statement saying “the systematic destruction of cultural symbols embodying Syrian cultural diversity reveals the true intent of such attacks, which is to deprive the Syrian people of its knowledge, its identity and history.” The organization continues by pointing out, “this destruction is a new war crime and an immense loss for the Syrian people and for humanity.” Just one week before blowing up the temple, the Islamic State also beheaded the 82-year-old Syrian archaeologist, Khaled Assad.

The Islamic State overran the city of Palmyra in late May. In other photos released by the jihadist group, Syrian regime soldiers are seen being executed in other ancient ruins in the city.

Photos released by the Islamic State:




Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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  • Mr T says:

    Such bravery. Beheading old men and destroying empty buildings. Their mommas are probably very proud.

  • Paul says:

    Let me know when we get tough with Turkey, Saudi Arabia & Qatar for sponsorship of this plague.


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