London: Syrian archaeologists' ghastly fears about the preservation of UNESCO World Heritage Site of Palmyra ruins turned into an unfortunate reality as the Islamic State has reportedly blown up the ancient temple of Baalshamin.
The report of the ISIS destroying the temple at Palmyra comes just days after the extremists beheaded archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad who was taken hostage in the aftermath of the capture of the ancient ruins in May.
82-year-old Asaad had been taking care of the Roman ruins since last 50 years.
Ever since, the ISIS took over Palmyra in May, there were widespread fears that the group might demolish them as it did with the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud and statues in Iraq's Mosul.
Talking to the AFP, Syrian antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim said how the ISIS fighters detonated the temple of Baalshamin after placing a large quantity of explosives inside that caused much damage.
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He added that the ISIS "carried out executions in the ancient theatre (of Palmyra), they destroyed in July the famous Lion Statue of Athena... and transformed the museum into a prison and a courtroom."
Though, Syria's head of antiquities said that the temple was blown up on Sunday, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that it happened one month ago, according to the BBC.
The 2,000-year-old temple of Baal Shamin was built in 17 AD.
Earlier in July, the Islamic State group militants destroyed six archaeological pieces from the historic town of Palmyra that were confiscated from a smuggler.
ISIS also released photos showing its militants destroying what are understood to be looted artefacts from the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria.The pictures showed six statues being hit with sledgehammers.
The group said that the statues had been seized from a smuggler, who was pictured being lashed as a punishment.