Satellite imagery released by the United Nations on Monday has confirmed that the Islamic State destroyed one of the most important ruins in the ancient city of Palmyra over the weekend.
The destruction of the 1st-century Temple of Bel appears to be part of a broader campaign by the group against not just Palmyra but a variety of ancient sites — a campaign that appears to be motivated by both ideology and greed. Worse still, the Islamic State is only one part of a wider situation in Syria and Iraq where a number of important historical areas are considered at risk.
The situation is stark. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) lists 10 world heritage sites in Syria and Iraq. Of those 10, it says nine are currently in danger – and not just because of Islamic State vandalism. ∞∞∞∞∞ MORE »»»»