The IS flag has been hoisted on top of the castle, but there is no destruction at the site

The IS flag has been hoisted on top of the castle, but there is no destruction at the site

Antiquities director Maamoun Abdulkarim said they had destroyed some modern plaster statues and also raised their flag on the ancient castle overlooking the Roman ruins.

Most of the museum?s antiquities had been transferred to Damascus, he said.

IS has previously demolished ancient sites that pre-date Islam.

It sees this as a war against ?false idols?.

The capture of the World Heritage site next to the modern city of Palmyra has raised international alarm.

UN cultural organisation Unesco says its destruction would be ?an enormous loss to humanity?.

The fall of Palmyra came just days after IS captured the major Iraqi city of Ramadi.

Citing Palmyra residents at a news conference in Damascus, Mr Abdulkarim said IS militants had entered the museum on Thursday breaking ?some plaster statues? being used to represent life in prehistoric eras?, before returning on Friday to lock it and place guards at its doors.

?There?s almost nothing left in the museum, we had been progressively transferring the antiquities to Damascus,? he said.

?We feel proud as all the museum?s contents were taken to safe areas,? Mr Abdulkarim told reporters.

?But there are still the large items, like the sarcophagi, which weigh three or four tonnes and we could not move, those are what worry me.?

IS militants have destroyed several sites in Iraq ? most recently the ancient city of Nimrud, one of Iraq?s greatest archaeological treasures.

They are also reported to have burnt down Mosul Library, which housed over 8,000 ancient manuscripts, and used sledgehammers to demolish statues at a Mosul museum and at an archaeological site known as the Nergal Gate.

Source: BBC

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