Islamic State Destroys 2,000 Year Old Temple In Syria

ISIS militants have reportedly used dynamite to destroy an ancient temple situated in the Syrian archaeological site of Palmyra. The Baalshamin temple had stood at the site for nearly 2,000 years and was considered one of the best preserved temple on the site.

BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants have destroyed a temple at Syria's ancient ruins of Palmyra, activists said Sunday, realizing the worst fears archaeologists had for the 2,000-year-old Roman-era city after the extremists seized it and beheaded a local scholar.

Palmyra, one of the Middle East's most spectacular archaeological sites and a UNESCO World Heritage site, sits near the modern Syrian city of the same name. Activists said the militants used explosives to blow up the Baalshamin Temple on its grounds, the blast so powerful it also damaged some of the Roman columns around it.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday night that the temple was blown up a month ago. Turkey-based activist Osama al-Khatib, who is originally from Palmyra, said the temple was blown up Sunday. Both said the extremists used a large amount of explosives to destroy it.

Both activists relied on information for those still in Palmyra and the discrepancy in their accounts could not be immediately reconciled, though such contradictory information is common in Syria's long civil war.