The facade of the Roman theater has been completely destroyed, Syrian state TV reported , while the scale of damage is currently unknown.
IS took control of Palmyra from Syrian troops in December for the second time, after the city was liberated by Syria’s government forces, backed by Russian air power, in March.
Syrian President Bashar Assad stated that IS managed to retake Palmyra, “backed by Americans, under surveillance of the US drones; they came from the side of the desert and retook Palmyra.”
“ISIS was created under the supervision of the United States… and later Turkey sponsored this State. So we cannot expect to have genuine fight against ISIS by Turkey or the United States, and the recent, more stark example is the attack on Palmyra a few weeks ago,” the Syrian leader told Japanese broadcaster TBS, in an interview also published on the SANA agency website.
“Today, we are talking, and ISIS has been attacking Deir Ezzor in the eastern part of Syria, and the Americans did nothing to stop ISIS.”
“This is where the so-called international alliance against terrorism has been working for more than one year and a half now, and they achieved nothing, because they are not serious,” Assad added.
The ancient city of Palmyra was one of the most important centers of the Roman Empire. Its monuments are included as a UNESCO World Heritage site. After the site was recaptured by government forces last year, reconstruction began to repair extensive damage done by IS.
In particular, experts were working on is a remarkable Lion of Allat statue from the 1st century AD, as well as the Arch of Triumph, the Temple of Baalshamin and the iconic 2,000-year-old Bel Temple.