Nine months ago, Syrian forces were able to re-take the city of Palmyra from the clutches of ISIS. For the first time, photographer Joseph Eid of the Associated Press returned to the historical sites of the city to see the damage which was wrought by the terrorist group.
The Temple of Bel was completely destroyed in part by ISIS and the Russian-backed airstrikes.
According to Syria's antiquities director Mamoun Abdul Karim:
“Of course the Temple of Bel will never be the same. According to our experts, we will definitely be able to restore a third of the destroyed cella, or maybe even more if we carry out additional studies with UNESCO’s help…I invite archaeologists and experts everywhere to come work with us because this site is part of the heritage of all humanity.”
This is the cella he is referring to:
The Temple of Bel dated back to 32 A.D.
The Temple's Arc Du Triomphe was nearly decimated:
And there were no traces of nearby Temple of Baal Shamin:
Statues outside the city were defaced even after the destruction of the temples:
Along with statues inside the antiquities museum:
And of course, ancient books were burned:
Despite the damage, historians are eager to get back into the city and restore these ancient sites and artifacts. While some may never return to their former glory, even ISIS could not erase their existence.