Islamic State Militants Blow Up The Arch Of Triumph In Palmyra

Syria’s antiquities director confirms IS has destroyed the “icon of Palmyra”

Militants from the Islamic State group (IS) have blown up the Arch of Triumph in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.

The arch, a major monument in the 2,000-year-old city, was destroyed after being booby-trapped by IS several weeks ago.

Maamoun Abdulkarim, the Syrian Director General of the Antiquities and Museums, is calling on the rest of the world to help save what remains of Palmyra.

“"This is a systematic destruction of the city. They want to raze it completely. They want to destroy the amphitheatre, the colonnade. We now fear for the entire city,” said Abdulkarim.

“It is now wanton destruction ... their acts of vengeance are no longer ideologically driven because they are now blowing up buildings with no religious meaning.

The news follows the destruction of other ancient temples and artefacts earlier this year.

Palmyra was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world, according to UNESCO, which says the city marks the crossroads of several civilizations in the ancient world. 

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has labelled the destruction a "war crime" and urged the world to stand united against IS efforts to "deprive the Syrian people of its knowledge, its identity and history.”

Conflict in Syria, which began in 2011, has left more than 250,000 million people dead and around 50 percent of the country's population displaced

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