It is almost as if the horrific and pathetic beheading last week of Khaled al-As’ad — the octogenarian antiquities expert in Palmyra who apparently refused to reveal to ISIS information about Palmyra’s treasures — failed to achieve sufficient attention (or income) and lacked the aesthetic impact value of demolishing a colonnaded temple.
The destruction and looting of heritage across Syria and Iraq is on an industrial scale. The Syrian Heritage Initiative of the American Schools of Oriental Research, among others, tries to document this pillage and loss.
Truth is scarce in all directions. The destruction of the Baalshamin was announced Monday; ISIS released photos Tuesday purporting to show explosives rigged up, an explosion, and rubble. But other reports indicate the destruction occurred a month ago.