See the enduring beauty of this 2,000-year-old archeological site.
Once a Beloved Archeological and Tourist Site, Palmyra Is Now a Battlefield
Credit: Stobkcuf/Wikimedia

Syrian government forces recaptured the city of Palmyra from the militant organization known as the Islamic State group or ISIS this week.

Palmyra is home to one of the best-preserved and most beloved archeological sites in the world, containing the remnants of an entire 2,000-year-old trading city.

Syrian scholars and laymen alike have risked their lives to protect both the site itself and the numerous sculptures and artifacts it contains.

ISIS has twice captured the city in the past three years, most recently taking it in December 2016. Their troops have destroyed or severely damaged some of its most famous monuments, including the Temples of Bel and Baalshamin, the Arch of Triumph, the Tetrapylon gate, and a Roman amphitheater.

The drone video shows severe damage throughout the site, with fresh piles of rubble in the Roman amphitheater from recent destruction in 2015. Many of the main structures of Palmyra are still intact, however, including several of the larger buildings and the Roman colonnades.

ISIS claims that the UNESCO world heritage site contains symbols of idolatry as it was constructed primarily in the first and second century A.D., several hundred years before the birth of Islam. The militants have used Palmyra as a propaganda tool, creating recruitment videos of their destruction of the monuments.