The Islamic State has reportedly destroyed another architectural landmark in Syria’s ancient Palmyra city, according to the Associated Press. The Temple of Bel, which fell in an apparent bombing on Sunday, has been one of the most significant religious buildings in the ancient city of Palmyra for nearly 2,000 years.
Dedicated to the Semitic god Bel, the temple was housed along a major ancient trade route linking Persia, India, and China with the Roman Empire. The city’s ruins reflect that by marrying classical and Eastern architecture, resulting in a “strongly original style” dating back to 32 BC.
The extent of the damage is still unknown, but Maamoun Abdulkarim, the antiquities chief in Syria, told CNN that some of the walls and iconic columns are still standing. He echoes UNESCO’s description of the temple, calling it “the most important temple in Syria and one of the most important in the whole Middle East.”
This is the latest in a string of attacks on the heritage site since ISIS captured Palmyra on May 21. Last week, ISIS published photos of its bombing of the temple of Baal Shamin, the first major structure in Palmyra to be destroyed. Earlier this month, the terrorist group murdered Khaled al-Asaad, the 82-year-old Syrian archeologist who looked after Palmyra’s ruins.