The destruction of world heritage

A week after reports of destruction by Islamic State militants in the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, fighters severely damaged the Temple of Baal there, one of the oldest and culturally significant in the region, according to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A resident of Palmyra, Nasser al-Thaer, told The Associated Press, “It is total destruction,” adding, “It was an explosion the deaf would hear.”

Consecrated in A.D. 32 to the Semitic god Baal, the temple was a source of pride for Syrians and stood not far from where the other building, the Temple of Baalshamin, was destroyed.

The entire ancient city of Palmyra, which stands in the desert about 150 miles northeast of Damascus, is a Unesco World Heritage site.

Last week, the Islamic State released propaganda images showing its earlier destruction of the Roman-era Baalshamin Temple. According to Al Jazeera, satellite images in the past several days confirmed its destruction.

Fighting in the region continued Sunday, with Islamic State fighters clashing with other militants in southern Damascus, according to The Associated Press. More than two dozen militants were killed in the fighting, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.