Palmyra, situated about 130 miles northeast of Damascus, is known by Syrians as the ‘Bride of the Desert’.It was an important caravan city of Roman Empire, linking it to India, China, and Persia.Before the outbreak of Syria’s conflict in March 2011, the UNESCO site was one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Middle East and attracted over 100,000 visitors a year.Global concern for Palmyra’s magnificent ancient ruins spiked in September 2015, when satellite images confirmed that ISIS which took control of the city had demolished the famed Temple of Bel as part of its campaign to destroy pre-Islamic monuments it considers idolatrous.UNESCO described the temple as one of the best preserved and most important religious edifices of the first century in  Middle East.In October last year, the jihadists blew up the Arch of Triumph, dating from between 193 and 211 AD, as they continued a campaign of destruction that Unesco has said constitutes a war crime punishable by International Criminal Court.On March 2 of this year, the Syrian Army retook Palmyra  much diminished though it is from years of war. 


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