Islamic State has released a new video showing the destruction of Palmyra. Apparently filmed before the city’s liberation in May this year, the footage depicts extremists smashing ancient statutes and bulldozing human mummies. Back in October 2015 Islamic State militants blew up the Arch of Triumph, a major monument in the 2,000-year-old Roman city of Palmyra, after they destroyed two ancient temples.
The video allegedly released by one of Islamic State’s (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) websites, was shot in the form of a documentary. First it shows militants smashing ancient statues on the ground and then come the mummies, which the extremists later bulldoze.
A strategically important location, Palmyra had been in jihadist hands since May 2015. The Syrian Army backed by Russian forces managed to recapture the city on March 27, an event largely viewed as a victory and turning point in the war against the terrorists.
A number of remarkable monuments including the Arch of Triumph, the Temple of Baalshamin and the iconic 2,000-year-old Bel Temple were left in ruins after 12 month of IS occupation. The ancient city was left devastated and riddled with booby traps, which Russian sappers cleared after the liberation.
The terrorists also looted Palmyra’s museums and vandalized its precious exhibits. In June 2015, extremists decimated two unique tombs in Palmyra. IS considers the artifacts idolatrous. They have been waging a campaign to obliterate white cultural sites and relics on the territories of the self-proclaimed caliphate in northern Iraq and parts of Syria.
In August, the Sunni Muslim militants blew up the temple of Baal Shamin, then the Temple of Bel, one of the best preserved Roman-era sites.
In October 2015 it was also confirmed the militants had destroyed some of the best preserved of Palmyra’s funeral towers, sandstone constructions built to hold the remains of the ancient city’s richest families.
Islamic State has declared a caliphate in territory it holds across Syria and Iraq and has destroyed other monuments it says are pagan and sacrilegious.
UNESCO has called such acts war crimes and says Islamic State seeks to wipe out evidence of Syria’s diverse heritage.
Before the capture of the city, Syrian officials said they had moved hundreds of ancient statues to safe locations.