Two temples over 2,000 years old have been destroyed, and are gone forever. The Islamic State (IS) organization, also known as ISIS, took over the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria in May, and recently blew up the city’s two historical temples. How do we know for sure? Satellite photographs show that the Temples of Baal Shamin and Bel have been destroyed (images). These aren’t the only historical sites that the IS has demolished. Earlier this year, the IS destroyed ruins from the ancient cities of Hatra and Nimrud in Iraq.
Palmyra is an ancient city and was built in an oasis. It was used as a stopping place for people crossing the Syrian desert. Palmyra flourished around 2,000 years ago as it became an important city on trade routes linking the east to the west.
The IS has been taking over parts of Syria and Iraq. The aim of the IS is to establish a state for Muslim people where Islamic law is followed. The IS came out of another group in Iraq. In the last couple of years, it has become powerful. It is well-funded. The IS is known for being strict, harsh, and brutal. The group has killed many people, including many Muslims who don’t agree with its philosophy. The Iraqi troops and the Syrian army have been fighting the group.
There has been a civil war going on in Syria since 2011. Syrians want their president, Bashar al-Assad, to step down. He has been the president for 15 years. Rebel groups formed and started fighting Assad’s troops in 2011 to bring down his government. Fighting still continues on in the country. However, the IS also started fighting against Assad’s regime. Not all rebel groups agree with the ways of the IS, and they don’t want the IS to take over.
Here is a video showing Palmyra before the destruction by the IS.
Image Credits: http://www.unitar.org/ and Airbus Defense and Space for Temple of Bel before destruction image, UrtheCast, and UNITAR-UNOSAT for Temple of Bel after destruction image, US Department of State, Humanitarian Information Unit, NextView License (DigitalGlobe), and UNITAR-UNOSAT for Temple of Baal Shamin before destruction image, Airbus Defense and Space and UNITAR-UNOSAT for Temple of Baal Shamin after destruction image
Sources: http://www.aljazeera.com/, http://whc.unesco.org/, http://www.unitar.org, http://www.un.org/