DAMASCUS - A satellite image on Monday shows that the main building of the ancient Temple of Bel in the Syrian city of Palmyra has been destroyed, a United Nations agency said. The image was taken a day after a massive explosion was set off near the 2,000-year-old temple in the city occupied by Islamic State militants.
Earlier, Maamoun Abdulkarim, the head of the Antiquities and Museums Department in Damascus, said there was conflicting information about the fate of the temple, one of the most prominent structures in a sprawling Roman-era complex, because eyewitnesses were unable to approach the site.
But Einar Bjorgo, manager of Geneva-based UN satellite analysts UNOSAT, said a satellite image taken Monday "unfortunately shows the destruction of the temple's main building as well as a row of columns in its immediate vicinity." UNOSAT based its findings after comparing the image with one taken on Aug. 27 which showed the main building and columns still intact.