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Ancient Sites in Palmyra Unharmed, Islamic State Shows in Photo Essay

The militant group released the photos a day after fighters reportedly executed 20 men in a UNESCO-listed amphitheater.

by VICE News
May 28 2015, 3:01pm

Photo via Getty

Days after Islamic State (IS) militants stormed and seized the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, the group has released a series of photos and a video of the city, apparently to prove that they have left some of its ancient ruins largely untouched.

The photo essay, titled "The Ancient City of Tadmur," was posted to a jihadist-linked media website Thursday, Reuters reported. Among the 10 photos were images of a UNESCO heritage-listed Roman-style amphitheater where the group had purportedly killed 20 men the day before.

On Wednesday, IS militants had herded the men — all accused of fighting for the Syrian regime — into the ruins of the amphitheater and shot them dead, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

A separate photo essay posted to an Islamic state-linked site Thursday shows the cells and entrance of a military prison formerly used by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime to detain political prisoners.

Since IS took over Palmyra on May 20, officials have feared the group will continue its wrecking rampage of ancient ruins in Syria and Iraq.

The militants have previously released footage of fighters taking sledgehammers, dynamite, and drills to antiquities and artwork that are centuries old. The photos have temporarily allayed these concerns, although the date the photos were taken could not immediately be verified.