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Palmyra's sites could disappear within 3-4 months, says antiquities director

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By Euronews
Palmyra's sites could disappear within 3-4 months, says antiquities director

<p>It had withstood two millenia, but the Arch of Triumph appears to be the latest victim of <span class="caps">ISIL</span> militants in their campaign to raze the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra to the ground.</p> <p>The country’s antiquities chief reported the so-called Islamic State group had blown up the monument and warned that the treasured heritage site could disappear completely within 3-4 months.</p> <p>Known as the ‘Pearl of the Desert’, Palmyra lies 210kms northeast of Damascus, and has already seen two ancient temples razed in recent months.</p> <p>Satellite images taken in August show the extent of the damage at the Roman-era <span class="caps">UNESCO</span> world heritage site, which was captured by <span class="caps">ISIL</span> militants in May. <span class="caps">UNESCO</span> has referred to the destruction of monuments as a ‘war crime’.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">We condemn the destruction of the ancient & beautiful Arch of Triumph at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Palmyra?src=hash">#Palmyra</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Unite4Heritage?src=hash">#Unite4Heritage</a> <a href="http://t.co/6Kuk06VXay">pic.twitter.com/6Kuk06VXay</a></p>— <span class="caps">UNESCO</span> (@UNESCO) <a href="https://twitter.com/UNESCO/status/650951249437659136">October 5, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>According to experts, the systematic destruction of heritage sites is used as a publicity tool to attract new recruits, and is also an important source of funding as ancient artefacts are sold on the black market.</p>