The Islamic State executed three prisoners in Palmyra by tying them to ancient columns and blowing them up. News of the killings came from the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman.
In an unusual break with the Islamic State’s gruesome protocol, no pictures or videos of the executions were released. Residents of the neighboring modern city were not summoned to witness the killings as in the past and there is no information as to the identity of the prisoners. A local activist reported, “ISIS has prevented anyone from heading to the site.”
Since the Islamic State conquered the ancient city last May, it has wreaked destruction on some of the world’s most ancient treasures.
Palmyra, a designated UNESCO world heritage site was home to some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in the world, mixed with Greek and Persian architectural styles. ISIS has blown up many of the famous ruins and used others as a backdrop to horrific execution videos.
Palmyra’s famed archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad, 82, was brutally murdered by the terrorist organization in August for refusing to give Islamic State militants information as to where the city’s most valuable artifacts could be found. ISIS uses money gleaned from selling ancient artifacts to partially fund their militias.
Al-Assad, who was said to have been familiar with every stone in Palmyra, was publicly beheaded after which his body was chopped into pieces. He had refused to leave his beloved city when ISIS took over.
According to legend, Palmyra was first built by King Solomon. The city was so beautiful that was referred to as “The Venice of the Sands.”