Palmyra: Photographer's powerful before and after photos show city's destruction at hands of Isis

The ancient site was recaptured by government forces in March

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The Independent Online

A series of before and after photos have emerged of the ancient Syrian site of Palmyra showing the extent of the destruction caused by Isis, a week after it was recaptured from militants.

The group was driven out from the site on Easter Sunday, and journalists have been allowed in for the first time since government forces took over.

The photographs show Isis's vandalism of temples and statues, some of which are thousands of years old.

The series of photos was taken by photographer Joseph Eid, who also visited the site in March 2014, before it was taken over by Isis.

A picture of the Arc du Triomphe (Triumph's Arch) contrasted with what remains of the historic monument after it was destroyed by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in October 2015 in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. (JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)
Another view showing the full extent of the damage at Arc du Triomphe (Triumph's Arch), which was destroyed by Isis in October 2015.
A picture showing the Temple of Bel before it was destroyed by Isis in September 2015 in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. The structure dated back to 32AD. (JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)
Security officials stand around the ruins of the Temple of Bel. (JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images )
The Temple of Baal Shamin seen through two Corinthian columns at Palmyra, Syria. (JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images )
A picture taken in the Palymra museum showing defaced sculptures. (JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)

Isis captured Palmyra in the summer of 2015, along with the modern town and some oilfields nearby.

The attacks significantly increased Isis control over Syria.

The group, who follow an extreme version of Sunni Islam, saw Palymra's ancient ruins, predating Islam, as idolatrous.

In addition to destroying ancient buildings, they also defaced and decapitated statues.

Isis have also destroyed ancient artefacts and sites in other areas.

Mosques, shrines and churches in elsewhere in Syria, Iraq and Libya have also been vandalised by the group.

Statues were beheaded in the Palmyra museum. (JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images )
A an ancient work of art, which may have been shot at by Isis militants. (JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images )
An ancient tomb has been defaced and lies in the wreckage of the Palmyra museum. (JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images )
The face of a statue lies on the floor in the Palmyra museum. (JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images )

Syrian troops backed by Russian forces recaptured Palmyra in March after an offensive to rescue the city from Isis militants.