05:05 GMT +322 July 2019
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    A file picture taken on March 14, 2014 shows a partial view of the theatre at the ancient oasis city of Palmyra, 215 kilometres northeast of Damascus. Islamic State group fighters advanced to the gates of ancient Palmyra on May 14, 2015

    Russian Airstrikes in Syria Could Be Palmyra's Only Chance to Survive

    © AFP 2019 / JOSEPH EID
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    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)
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    The ancient city of Palmyra, home to monumental ruins and priceless antiquities, is on the verge of total destruction and Russia's airstrikes against the Islamic State could be the only way to save the 2000-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site for the generations to come.

    "While the West has been passively observing [what is happening] in Syria… the Russian Air Force deliberately launched airstrikes against ISIL targets to stop the destruction" of the Roman city, Die Freie Welt newspaper observed.

    On Tuesday, Russia destroyed an ISIL headquarters located 40.3 miles from Palmyra.

    The brutal Sunni group, notorious for reducing cultural sites to rubble, captured Palmyra in May. Although militants did not level the city then, they have since destroyed several ancient monuments and are unlikely to stop.

    The Temple of Bel, the Baalshamin temple and the Arch of Triumph are among the priceless pieces of ancient art which have already been lost. The temples were destroyed in August and the gateway built by the Romans was blown up earlier this month. According to the media outlet, the Arch of Triumph has long been regarded as "the most popular photo spot" in Syria.

    Syria's antiquities director Maamoun Abdelkarim recently warned that Palmyra is on the verge of total destruction. The city that once attracted millions of tourists annually could only be saved if the international community helps the Syrian Army to get rid of the Islamic State, he added.

    This is what has motivated Russia to assist Syrian ground forces, according to the German newspaper.

    Topic:
    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)

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    Daesh, airstrike, destruction, cultural heritage, Arch of Triumph, Palmyra, Syria, Russia
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