IS destroys facade of Roman theatre in Syria’s Palmyra

Damascus, Jan 20 (IANS) The Islamic State (IS) militant group has destroyed the facade of the ancient Roman theatre and the Tetrapylon in the ancient oasis city of Palmyra in Syria, the media reported on Friday.

The interface of the second-century CE theatre as well as the famous Tetrapylon, a type of ancient Roman monument of a cubic shape, were demolished in that millennia-old city after being booby-trapped with explosions, Xinhua news agency reported.

However, the time and day they were demolished was not mentioned.

It is latest in a series of destruction that has befallen the city by the hands of the terrorist group, which re-entered the city in December 2016, just nine months after losing it to the Syrian Army.

During their first invasion of the city in 2015, the IS blew up several 2,000-year-old monuments and relics in Palmyra.

The group destroyed the Temple of Bel, which was dedicated to the Mesopotamian god Bel, who was worshipped at Palmyra in triad with the lunar god Aglibol and the sun god Yarhibol, which formed the centre of religious life in Palmyra and was inaugurated in 32 AD.

Now, there is nothing left of the temple except its gate.

Aside from Bal, another temple in Palmyra, Baalshamin, was totally destroyed during the first invasion of Palmyra.

Baalshamin, whose earliest phase dates to the late 2nd century, was one of the most complete ancient structures in Palmyra.

The Unesco in 1980 designated the temple as a World Heritage Site. The IS destroyed Baalshamin on August 23, 2015.

In May 2015, the IS partially destroyed the Lion of al-Lat and other statues.

It became known in September 2015 that the IS had destroyed three of the best preserved tower tombs including the Tower of Elahbel.

The media reported the IS destroyed the Arch of Triumph in October 2015.

Before destroying its facade, the IS used the theatre in its infamous massacre of Syrian soldier.

Last year, the IS released a video of a mass slaughter of Syrian soldiers in that amphitheatre, showing condemned soldiers lined up on their knees on the stage, while their child executioners with pistols in hands standing behind them.

The city has an importance to IS as it connects areas under the terror group’s control in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour with areas under its control in the eastern countryside of the central province of Homs.

The recapture of Palmyra is also important as the group’s fighters in Iraq have started entering Syria recently after suffering great losses in battles against the Iraqi Army and the US anti-terror coalition.