On November 27, 2008 - I woke up early to walk alone amongst the ancient ruins of Palmyra. My mind's eye filled with a vision of Queen Zenobia as I approached the Temple of Baal Shamin whose columns blazed red with the rising sun.
Seven years later on August 19, 2015 Khaled al-Asaad, the 81-year-old antiquities scholar was beheaded by Islamic State militants. He had named his daughter after Zenobia, the queen that ruled from the city 1,700 years ago. Al Assad had sacrificed his life so as not to reveal the location of hidden treasures of Palmyra.
But that did not stop ISIS militants from bombing the Temple of Baal Shamin. On August 23 the world learned the news that large explosives were placed inside the temple destroying the interior structure collapsing the surrounding columns.
A few weeks later on August 30, a massive explosion reduced the Temple of Bel's main building and a row of columns to rubble. According to the Syrian Department of Antiquities most of the site remains intact."The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) considered the Temple of Bel - the great sanctuary of the Palmyrene gods - one of the most important religious buildings of the 1st Century AD in the East."
Reports reveal that the Museum Authorities removed hundreds of statues and objects before ISIS took Palmyra.