ISIS fighters have destroyed part of amphitheater in Palmyra
Officials say recent satellite images confirm new destruction in ancient city
ISIS fighters have destroyed part of the historic Roman amphitheater in the ancient city of Palmyra.
Syrian authorities say recent satellite images confirm renewed devastation in the ancient oasis city, according to a statement Friday from the Syrian Directorate General for Antiquities and Museums.
“The imagery shows significant damage to the Tetrapylon and the Roman Theater, caused [as a] result of intentional destructions by ISIS,” the statement said.
It wasn’t immediately clear exactly when the damage occurred, but officials say the new satellite photograph showing damage was taken on January 10, 2017.
The jihadist group first seized control of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in May 2015. Syrian regime forces managed to briefly push the militants out of the city last year.
But Palmyra fell to ISIS again in December when Syrian troops pulled out and over 4,000 militants returned.
How ISIS ravaged Palmyra's world treasures
Omar Albenia, a spokesman of the council of Palmyra and Badia condemned the vandalism, while castigating the Syrian regime for allowing jihadists to reclaim the city.
“This is a great loss for the people of Palmyra and what Palmyra stands for in history, because it is an important historical site that was well preserved over the years,” he told CNN.
“We at the council of Palmyra and Badia condemn this cowardly terrorist attack carried out by ISIS and also place the blame of the Syrian regime of what is happening in Palmyra when the city of Palmyra has exchanged hands between ISIS and the Syrian regime several times.”
Albenia added that the council had been surprised at the Syrian regime’s decision to leave Palmyra when it was not secure. He questioned why Syrian government troops have been able to recapture Aleppo but not do the same in the comparatively smaller city of Palmyra.
Syrian state news also reported that 12 civilians were executed by ISIS militants in Palmyra on Thursday.
CNN’s Fred Pleitgen contributed to this report.