Palmyra ruins unharmed for now: Syria antiquities chief

Reuters News
Posted: May 26, 2015 9:09 AM

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian government's antiquities chief said on Tuesday the historical city of Palmyra had been unharmed since the Islamic State group seized it from state control last week.

Maamoun Abdulkarim said was still afraid the jihadist group would blow up ancient ruins at Palmyra including tombs and the Temple of Bel, which would be viewed as idolatrous in its puritanical vision of Islam.

"The historic city is fine. There is no damage so far," Abdulkarim told Reuters by phone, citing contacts with people on the ground. Palmyra, also known as Tadmur, is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site.

(Reporting by Kinda Makieh in Syria; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Catherine Evans)