IS militants blows up Palmyra’s iconic Arc of Triumph

Islamic State (IS) militants have blown up the iconic Arch of Triumph in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.

Arch of Triumph was a centrepiece of the UNESCO world heritage site of ancient ruins of Palmyra. It dated between 193 and 211 AD.


  • After seizing the ancient city of Palmyra in May 2015, IS militants have demolished several ancient temples as part of their sustained campaign of destruction of heritage sites (or cultural cleansing).
  • The ideology of IS has embarked campaign to destroy ancient monuments that pre-date Islam as it is against the Islamic principal of promoting idolatry.
  • Earlier in August 2015 the IS militants had destroyed the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel (Palmyra’s main temple) and Temple of Baal-Shamim.

About Palmyra

  • Oasis town of Palmyra is known as the Pearl of the Desert. It is situated about 210 kilometres northeast of Damascus (capital of Syria).
  • In ancient time the city was famous as a stopping point for caravans travelling on ancient Silk Route which connected East Asia and West Asia.
  • Prior to Syrian civil war which began in 2011, Palmyra’s ruins were a major attraction as about 150,000 tourists visited city in a year.


Hungary Declares state of Emergency over Refugee Influx

Hungarian Government has declared a state of emergency in its two regions of Csongrad and Bacs-Kiskun to cope with the influx of refugees. It was declared by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

This move could pave the way to bringing in Hungary’s military to patrol the frontier bordering Serbia to stop illegal influx.

This declaration comes after more than 10,000 people claiming to be Syrian and Afghan refugees were detained by Hungarian police for illegally crossing the border from Serbia.

Refugee Crisis

  • Hungary’s decision will effect in closure main route of the European Union (EU) border for the illegal refugee influx chain. But it is said that after closing of main route, refugees will divert their route from other countries.
  • Being a central European nation, Hungary had emerged as epicenter of a refugee crisis which had erupted after an unprecedented number of people from North African (Libya, Eritrea, Sudan etc) and Middle Eastern (Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan etc) countries started relocating to European Countries for seeking refuge and better life conditions.
  • So far in 2015, over 200,000 refugees have reached Hungary by walking across the southern border with Serbia by crossing Turkey, Greece and Mediterranean Sea.

It should be noted that European countries are witnessing a greatest illegal refugee crisis since World War II and is considered as one of the worst humanitarian crisis. Earlier in September 2015, Germany had introduced border controls along its Austrian border to check refugee influx. It had led to Germany’s temporarily exit from the Schengen Agreement of EU which facilitates unhindered movement of people within the EU countries.


IS damages ancient Temple of Bel in Syria’s Palmyra

Islamic State (IS) militant group has destroyed part of historical Temple of Bel in the ancient site of Palmyra in Syria.

The ancient temple was dedicated to the Palmyrene gods and was one of the best preserved parts of the historical sites of Palmyra.

Key facts

  • The ancient site of Palmyra in ancient times was one of the most important cultural centres and now has monumental ruins of great ancient city.
  • The site boasts a number of monumental projects including more than thousand columns and more than 500 tombs.
  • The art and architecture of this city is blend of Greco-Roman techniques with combination of local traditions and Persian influences, dating back to the 1st and 2nd centuries.
  • The ancient city of Palmyra is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was a major tourist attraction of Syria before it descended into civil war.

Earlier in August 2015, IS militant group had destroyed the ancient Temple of Baalshamin in same region of Palmyra.