ISIS has destroyed two UNESCO World Heritage sites in Syria. Using explosives they destroyed the Tetrapylon and “significantly damaged” the Roman Theatre.
Satellite imagery shows the monuments lying in ruins on January 10th. The jihadists recaptured the city of Palmyra where the sites were located in December after the Syrian army pulled out.
The ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiative (ASOR CHI) documents northern Iraq and Syria cultural heritage. They said, “ISIL executed prisoners around the archaeological site, destroyed the Tetrapylon and part of the Roman Theatre.”
According to the ASOR CHI the damage was caused over the period 26th December 2016 to 10th January 2017. A spokesperson said, “The Tetrapylon appears to have been intentionally destroyed using explosives. Two columns remain standing, but the majority of the structure has been severely damaged and column drums and debris are visible on the ground around the structure.
“The Roman Theater has sustained damage to the stage backdrop, primarily in the area of the Porticus. New stone debris is scattered across the centre of the stage.”
In 2015 ISIS sparked a global outcry when it destroyed Palmyra’s cultural monuments which the group considers idolatrous. It took the city during the war.
Using dynamite they destroyed Palmyra temples of Baal Shamin and Bel, as well as other structures such as funeral towers, and a triumphal arch. The structures had stood for 1800 years. They were described the U.N cultural agency as a crossroad of cultures since the human race began.
ISIS used the ancient theatre to carryout executions, murdering people in public.
The Tetrapylon was once a grand structure with four columns at each corner. The ASOR CHI said, “This type of Tetrapylon is called a tetrakionion, in which the four corners of the structure are not connected overhead.”
ISIS has destroyed culturally significant monuments in Syria and Northern Iraq.