Drone video suggests Islamic State plans further destruction of Palmyra, Syria

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |   Feb. 13, 2017 at 10:50 AM

Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Video footage from a Russian Ministry of Defense drone suggests the Islamic State plans further damage to the archeological site at Palmyra, Syria, the ministry said Monday.

The video shows the destruction of a number of ancient buildings, most of them built in the first century A.D., as well as movement of trucks showing IS "intentions to deliver explosives in order to cause maximum damage to the [remaining] architectural monuments" before it retreats from the city, a statement from the defense ministry said.

IS captured the ancient city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in May 2015 and began demolishing structures. Some, like the amphitheater, were used for executions. The Syrian army briefly seized Palmyra in 2016, but it fell to IS again in December, when the army pulled out and IS militants returned. A concentrated effort by Syria, with the aid of Russian airstrikes, to recapture the city is currently underway.

The footage shows the destruction of the proscenium, the central part of the ancient amphitheater, and of the Tetrapylon column, a square building erected in 270 A. D., the ministry said. Russian topologists and archaeologists developed a 3D modeling system, used with satellite and drone photographs, to better view "the barbarian destruction" of the city, a ministry statement said.

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