ISIS Plants Explosives in Ancient City of Palmyra

Archaeology news

The Islamic State (known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) laid mines and bombs around the ancient ruins of Palmyra in Syria this past Sunday, a monitoring group reported.


The ancient ruins of Palmyra. Photo: Yvonnefm’s image is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that it was unclear whether the explosives were planted in order to destroy Palmyra’s ruins or to counter government forces advancing into the city.

It has now been reported that two ancient Muslim shrines near Palmyra have been blown up. One was a tomb belonging to Mohammed bin Ali, a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed’s cousin, located about 2.5 miles north of Palmyra. The Shrine of Abu Bahaeddine, about a third of a mile from Palmyra’s ancient ruins, was also blown up.

“They consider these Islamic mausoleums to be against their beliefs, and they ban all visits to these sites,” said Maamoun Abdulkarim, the Director of the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in Syria, to AFP.

The palm tree-lined oasis of Palmyra served as a stopover for caravans traveling from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea in antiquity. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the ancient city contains monumental structures from the Roman period.

In May, the extremist group seized the historic city of Palmyra. Since its rise, ISIS has been responsible for the destruction and looting of a number of sites in Iraq and Syria, including Aleppo, Nineveh and Nimrud.

From Babylon to Baghdad: Ancient Iraq and the Modern West examines the relationship between ancient Iraq and the origins of modern Western society. This free eBook details the ways in which ancient Near Eastern civilizations have impressed themselves on Western culture.

Related reading in Bible History Daily:

ISIS Captures Syrian City of Palmyra

ISIS Executes Antiquities Scholar in Syrian City of Palmyra

Temple of Baal Shamin in Palmyra Blown Up by ISIS

Satellite Images Confirm ISIS Destruction of Temple of Bel and Other Monuments in Palmyra

ISIS Destroys Antiquities in Mosul, Iraq

Archaeological Looting and the Destruction of Cultural Heritage

Ancient Coins and Looting

Digital Humanities and the Ancient World


1 Responses

  1. Daily Digest for June 23rd, 2015 | Christian Origins says:

    […] ISIS Plants Explosives in Ancient City of Palmyra by Robin Ngo at […]

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