One week after detonating the 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin, ISIS has destroyed a second ancient temple in the Syrian city of Palmyra. Tuesday morning, the UN released satellite photos confirming the demolition of the Temple of Bel, which dates back to 32 B.C.
“We can confirm destruction of the main building of the Temple of Bel as well as a row of columns in its immediate vicinity,” UNOSAT Manager Einar Bjorgo said, according to the Guardian.
The photo above was taken on August 27. It shows, according to the UN, the temple standing, surrounded by a row of columns. The photo below was taken four days later.
According to reports, a renowned Syrian scholar was decapitated and his body hung from a Roman column in the ancient ruins of Palmyra, reportedly because he refused to lead ISIS militants to the valuable artifacts he had been charged with looking after.
Khaled al-Asaad, 82, spent more than 50 years as the head of antiquities in Palmyra, home to famous Syrian ruins like, according to the New York Times, the Temple of Ba’al, an ancient theater and a famous 2,000-year-old colonnade.
The militants were apparently searching for antiques which the Syrian government had moved to a “safe place” shortly before ISIS captured the city. Al-Asaad apparently refused to reveal the location during repeated interrogations.
Instead, he was reportedly held captive for a month and summarily executed Tuesday in front of the museum where he worked, according to the director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, Chris Doyle. Then ISIS militants reportedly hung his body from an ancient Roman column in the center of a square with a poster listing his alleged crimes.