ISIS Reportedly Destroys Ancient Temple In Palmyra, Syria (Photos)

| by Nathaly Pesantez

A series of images released by the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization appear to show the destruction of Baalshamin, an ancient temple within the UNESCO World Heritage site of Palmyra, Syria. 

The photos were released by the group's media office in Homs, Syria, on Aug. 25, according to NBC News. 

Several photographs show close-up shots of explosives lined up in a row, while others pan out to display their full extent throughout the temple. The magnitude of the destruction is conveyed by an image of a cloud of smoke towering over the ancient ruins, with another photo displaying the aftermath — piles of rubble that reportedly once formed the iconic temple built nearly 2,000 years ago.  

Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, labeled the militant group's act as a war crime. 

"The systematic destruction of cultural symbols embodying Syrian cultural diversity reveals the true intent of such attacks, which is to deprive the Syrian people of its knowledge, its identity and history," she said in a statement.

"Despite the obstacles and fanaticism, human creativity will prevail, buildings and sites will be rehabilitated, and some will be rebuilt," she added.

Although the site was destroyed on Aug. 23, the militant group began lining the temple with explosives more than a month before, reports Daily Mail. 

The temple's destruction comes after the killing of 82-year-old Khaled al-As'ad, the former general manager for antiquities and museums in Palmyra.

Sources: NBC News, UNESCO World Heritage, CNN, Daily Mail

Photo credit: Supplied via Daily Mail