Palmyra ruins unharmed for now after ISIS invasion: Syria antiquities chief

The ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria. -- PHOTO: EPA
The ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria. -- PHOTO: EPA

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian government's antiquities chief said on Tuesday the historical city of Palmyra had been unharmed since the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group seized it from state control last week.

Mr Maamoun Abdulkarim said he was still afraid the militant group would blow up ancient ruins at Palmyra, including tombs and the Temple of Bel, which would be viewed as idolatrous in its puritanical vision of Islam.

"The historic city is fine. There is no damage so far," Mr Abdulkarim told Reuters by phone, citing contacts with people on the ground.

Palmyra, also known as Tadmur, is home to a Unesco World Heritage site.