ISIS Controls Museum, Historic Sites in Palmyra After Deadly Takeover

Stage of the Amphitheater, Palmyra
Stage of the Amphitheater, Palmyra

Syria's ancient town of Palmyra was seized by Islamic State militants last week. Reports on Sunday put the death toll at about 400 civilians after ISIS took control, ransacked a museum and barricaded the town.

ISIS has made a public show of destroying what they see as "false idols" in museums and cultural sites. However, Antiquities director Maamoun Abdulkarim said much of Palmyra museum's collections were already taken to Damascus for safekeeping. The militants likely destroyed modern plaster copies of ancient relics. 

Abdulkarim added, "But there are still the large items, like the sarcophagi, which weigh three or four tonnes and we could not move, those are what worry me."

On the outskirts of Palmyra, an UNESCO World Heritage Site has also been captured. Destruction the 2,000-year-old Roman-era city would be "an enormous loss to humanity," say Unesco officials.

ISIS has already destroyed much of Nimrud, among Iraq's most significant archaelogical sites, and the Mosul Library, which contained 8,000 ancient manuscripts, among other cultural places and antiquities.

The loss of Syria's cultural heritage represents the loss of far more than some tourist attractions - it is the loss of connection between multiple generations," said Dr. David Roberts, King's College, London.

More News Feed Headlines

Richard Meier, in 1986

Sotheby's Show, Getty Honor Cancelled After Harassment Claims Against Architect Richard Meier

  • March 14, 2018 21:53

The New York Times reported Tuesday that renowned Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier ...

Read More

Helen Molesworth

LA's MOCA Fires Chief Curator Helen Molesworth

  • March 14, 2018 12:08

The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MOCA) has ousted its chief curator, Helen Molesworth, ...

Read More

Missing painting

Nearly $2 Million in Hudson River School Paintings Stolen From Warehouse

  • March 13, 2018 22:57

An art owner notified police last summer that his collection of 19th-century paintings worth ...

Read More

Pepes were featured in the first ever rare digital art auction.  The frog meme has been linked to the alt-right.

Digital Art Jumps on the Blockchain Bandwagon

  • March 08, 2018 21:39

From fivethirtyeight: "A small triumvirate of artists, technologists and financiers are using ...

Read More

Related Press Releases

Related Events from ArtfixDaily Calendar


ArtfixDaily Artwire