Palmyra
© Fiona Dunlop
Palmyra
Your Middle East, Fiona Dunlop
Last updated: May 21, 2015

This is the immense beauty at risk in Syria's ancient Palmyra (PHOTOS)

Banner Icon Islamic State group jihadists seized full control of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra on Thursday, putting the world heritage site and its priceless artefacts at risk of destruction.

The capture of Palmyra, a former stopping point for caravans on the Silk Road, is the latest blow to efforts to hold back the advancing jihadists, following the fall of Iraq's Ramadi.

"IS fighters are in all parts of Tadmur, including near the archeological site," Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman said, using the Arabic name for the city.

Syria's antiquities chief Mamoun Abdulkarim said hundreds of statues and artefacts from Palmyra's museum had been transferred out of the city but many others – including massive tombs – could not be moved.

UNESCO head Irina Bokova claimed the fighting was "putting at risk one of the most significant sites in the Middle East". Bokova called on the international community to do "everything in its power" to protect civilians in the city and "safeguard the unique cultural heritage of Palmyra".

"It is imperative that all parties respect international obligations to protect cultural heritage during conflict, by avoiding direct targeting, as well as use for military purposes," she said.

Below our some of our treasured memories from trips to Palmyra:

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© Fiona Dunlop

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© Fiona Dunlop

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© Fiona Dunlop

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© Fiona Dunlop
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© Fiona Dunlop
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