Days after the Syrian Army recaptured Palmyra f-rom Islamic State militants, RT’s Lizzie Phelan visited the ancient archeological treasure to see if the UNESCO World Heritage Site suffered any irreparable damage after being in the jihadists' hands.
Just getting to Palmyra is a challenge. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) mined the entrances to the world-famous site, which have been painstakingly cleared by the Syrian Army, with Russian assistance.
RT’s Lizzie Phelan was one of the first journalists to set foot in Palmyra since the site was captured by IS militants in May 2015.
“It’s quite incredible to be standing here in the pearl of the desert – the ancient city of Palmyra that for months people around the world feared would be reduced to dust by ISIS,” she said.
Phelan confirmed that large parts of the centuries-old artifacts have been damaged, such as the Temple of Bel and the Arch of Triumph, but some of the historic relics are still standing.
Phelan visited what is left of the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel, which is considered one of the world’s greatest ancient relics.
The temple was constructed in honor of the Semitic god Bel, and was part of a series of three temples, with the others dedicated to the lunar god Algibol and the sun god Yarhibol. They were built in the year 32 AD and were at the center of Palmyra’s religious life.
However, parts were destroyed when IS overran the site. With the terrorist group now banished, experts will see if the historic site can be salvaged. Phelan says the task is to see how many large stones that made up the temple remain intact and f-rom there, they will be able to calculate whether it will be possible to reconstruct the archeological treasure.