Islamic State may be mining Palmyra to prevent Assad regime forces using it as a route of attack

Further reports are corroborating the Islamic State’s preparations for blowing up – or to be able to blow up – the Temple of Bel, which were first reported in Palmyra News Updates. The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdulrahman, tod Reuters that the Islamic State ‘also planted some [TNT bombs] around the Roman theater‘.

Rather than simply destroying the buildings for propaganda, it may be using the bombs as mines ‘to deter government forces from advancing towards the city’. As Paul Barford notes, that would force combat into the open areas around the ruins, and that would perversely provide the UNESCO World Heritage site with more protection than it has been afforded by the Assad regime.

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