Satellite images confirm the destruction of the famed Temple of Bel in Syria’s Palmyra, the United Nations said.
“We can confirm destruction of the main building of the Temple of Bel as well as a row of columns in its immediate vicinity,” the UN training and research agency UNITAR said, providing satellite images from before and after a powerful blast in the ruins of the ancient city on Sunday.
The UN imagery contradicted earlier reports that said that an attempt by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group to blow up the temple had rocked the ancient ruins, but that the site appeared to be largely intact.
However, UNITAR said its satellite program put to rest any doubts that the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel had been destroyed in the blast.
A shot taken on August 27 clearly shows an erect, rectangular structure surrounded by columns, while a shot taken on Monday showed there was little left besides a few columns in the very outer edges of the site.
ISIL destroyed the smaller Baal Shamin temple at Palmyra last week, confirming the worst fears about their intentions for the site, which they seized from Syrian government forces in May.
UNITAR on Friday also presented satellite images confirming the destruction of the Baal Shamin temple. (Al Jazeera)