ISIS demolishes Baalshamin Temple in Palmyra, UNESCO, KI-Moon: “War crime”

Palmyra, SANA, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria “ISIS” terrorist organization blew up Baalshamin Temple at the northern neighborhood of the ancient city of Palmyra.

ISIS imposes strict restrictions on locals of Palmyra since June 20th, and prevents them from leaving the city after cutting off all means of communications.Temple

Director of the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) Maamoun Abdelkarim told SANA Sunday night that local sources told him that ISIS terrorists blew up Baalshamin Temple by a large amount of explosives they brought into the temple and detonated it.


The site dates back to the first century AD, and has survived numerous invaders and occupiers. It is seen as one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.

DGAM is trying to contact locals of Palmyra to get information about the destruction of the Temple which dates back to 17 AD, Abdulkarim added, denouncing ISIS’ “systematic genocide war” and mass massacres against the locals.

“ISIS is bringing in archeological thieves to destroy antiquities by excavation of antiquities, looting and selling them”, Abdul karim said.

UNESCO:  “War Crime”

Later, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) condemned the demolition of Baalshamin Temple.

Head of the UNESCO Irina Bokova said in a statement on Monday that this act is a war crime and a tragic loss for both the Syrian people and for humanity as a whole, stressing that the perpetrators of this crime must be punished.

Bokova said that ISIS is murdering people and destroying sites, but it can never silence history and will eventually fail in its attempts to erase cultures from the world’s memory.

Baal temple

The destruction of the temple, which is considered the second most important monuments in Palmyra, raises concerns over the fate of other sites listed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and comes only a few days after the murder by beheading of former Director of Archeology in Palmyra Khaled al-Assad at the hands of ISIS.

UN Secretary General condemns ISIS terrorist acts in Palmyra

For his part, The UN Secretary-General condemned the barbaric acts of terror committed by ISIS in Syria, including the systematic destruction and plunder of the country’s cultural heritage, mainly the destruction of the ancient temple of Baalshamin.

Ban Ki-Moon is also outraged by the brutal murder of Khaled al-Assad, retired chief archaeologist of Palmyra, by the ISIS on 18 August.

The Secretary-General called on the international community to unite and act swiftly to put a stop to this terrorist acts.

He reiterated that the deliberate destruction of our common cultural heritage is a war crime, AFP quoted Ki-Moon as saying in a statement.

Hazem Sabbagh/ H. Zain/ Barry

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