The United Nations training and research agency has released satellite images and analysis that confirmed what the agency had thought, which was that the Temple of Bel was destroyed by ISIS.
The Temple of Bel is the center of religious activities in Palmyra, Syria, and it stood for nearly 2,000 years before being destroyed by the terrorist organization. Earlier on Monday, there were conflicting reports on whether or not the Temple of Bel had actually been completely destroyed by ISIS, but the satellite images that were released indeed show that the building is no longer standing as it once was. In terms of what the Temple of Bel means, it is one of the most culturally significant pieces of history in the entire world, so it had a lot of meaning and significance, especially religious significance to the people of that area and all over the world. The UNOSAT manager, Einar Bjorgo, confirmed that there was destruction in the main Temple of Bel building, and there was also a row of columns in the immediate vicinity that had also been demolished. There was an explosion there on Sunday, although the columns still seemed to be standing, at least what is what Syria’s antiquities chief, Maamoun Abdulkarim had said earlier on Monday before the images were released. Abdulkarim had said that on Sunday, an explosion was heard inside of the walls at the Temple of Bell, and it was not known the extent of the damage at that time, but other witnesses did say the walls still were standing. Abdulkarim then said that the site was “the most important temple in Syria, and one of the most important in the whole Middle East.” The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in the United Kingdom, had reported previously that part of the building and temple was damaged by ISIS.
You might have heard of ISIS before, as they are one of the most fearsome terror groups in the world at this point in time, but the group was previously just known for making videos showing them beheading various people, such as journalists. Now, it seems that ISIS has also incorporated destroying important, both religious and historical buildings throughout Syria. ISIS made it clear that the group has deep hatred for these buildings and antiquities because of the religious connotations and history the buildings represent, and ISIS has vowed to destroy such buildings. ISIS also killed an 82-year-old man, Khaled al-As’ad, who was responsible for preserving the antiquities in Palmyra, Syria, because the man refused to tell the group where the items had been hidden. A lot of these items were taken out of the temples and other buildings and moved once the word got around that ISIS was going to destroy them all, and most of them were able to be moved away before the explosions and bombings began. This man, who had spent his entire life preserving this antiquities, would not tell ISIS anything about the location of the relics now, so ISIS wanted to make a point to others out there who are trying to do the same thing by killing him.
The Temple of Bel is a first-century temple, and it was dedicated to the “god of gods” and it was one of the largest and best-preserved temples in the entire region. This temple represented a meeting pointi between the Eastern architecture and the classical architecture, according to Abdulkarim. It has only been in the past couple months that ISIS has shown such an interest in demolishing these irreplaceable buildings and temples, along with the relics and antiquities found within them. These objects, at least according to ISIS, are pre-Islamic religious objects, and the structures are sacrilegious. It is because of this that ISIS wants to destroy them and then have a uniformity throughout the region. Just last week, ISIS had published pictures that showed the group destroying the temple of Baal Shamin, which was the first structure with historical and cultural significance to be destroyed by the group within the city of Palmyra, Syria. It appears that ISIS is not going to stop anytime soon either, as the group plans on destroying more buildings within the region that have the pre-Islamic significance, and the group is on the lookout for relics and other antiquities that can be found within them. Some of the items, which are worth a lot of money, ISIS is selling and not destroying, in order to fund their organization.