Reuters Staff, 'IS destruction too extensive to restore Temple of Bel in Syria’s Palmyra' Reuters July 23, 2016
Two ancient monuments in the Syrian city of Palmyra were so badly damaged by Islamic State that they can only be rebuilt using substantially new materials [...] Experts from Russia’s Culture Ministry have assessed the damage in Palmyra after the UNESCO world heritage site was recaptured from Islamic State in March [...] One of the symbols of Palmyra, the Greco-Roman Temple of Bel, founded in the first century, “can be hardly restored”, the Russian experts said in a report presented on Thursday. “A recreation of the monument can only be made by its reconstruction using designs and photographs after preliminary clearing of the building’s ground,” the report said. This will require at least 3-4 years and “significant financing”, the experts added, estimating that the rebuilding of another key monument, the Arch of Triumph, would be possible within 9-12 months. “After the re-creation of the monument it will 60-70 percent consist of new materials,” the report said about the arch, whose vaults it said were “fully destroyed” by an explosion. Some original fragments of the nearly 2,000-year-old Temple of Baalshamin could be restored in 2-3 months, they said.A decision on which works will be rebuilt has not been made yet, Russia called on other countries to take part in discussions on the restoring the ruins in Palmyra, including how such work would be funded.