Militants of Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) are accused of killing three captives in Syria’s historic city of Palmyra by binding them to Roman-era temple columns and blowing them up, activists say. The site used to attract 150,000 tourists a year.
The BBC reported the incident and said it did not know the identities of those reportedly executed.
They were “thought to be the first to have been killed in that way since the jihadist group seized the ruins in May,” the BBC said.
ISIS is said to have destroyed two 2000-year-old temples, an arch and funerary towers at Palmyra.
UNESCO, the United Nations cultural agency, has condemned the destruction as a war crime.
After taking over the ruins of Palmyra, an important cultural centre in the ancient world, ISIS militants used the Roman-era theatre for the killing of 25 Syrian soldiers.
“They also beheaded archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad, who looked after ruins for 40 years, after he reportedly refused to reveal where artefacts had been hidden,” the BBC reported.
Fanatical Islamists, who regard much of what is non-Muslim as idolatrous, have destroyed other world heritage sites. In 2001, they blew up the UNESCO World Heritage listed Buddhas of Bamiyan, two huge monumental statues of the standing Buddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan. They were built in the 6th century AD.
Edited by William Sykes