Syria gets UN and Russian help restoring ancient Palmyra site destroyed by ISIS

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called on the United Nations and other international organisations on Wednesday to help Syria to restore Palmyra after government forces drove Islamic State militants out of the ancient city.

State news agency SANA said Assad made the appeal in a message to Ban Ki-moon, in which he also thanked the United Nations Secretary-General for welcoming the expulsion of Islamic State from the Syrian city, a UNESCO world heritage site.

The jihadist group seized Palmyra in May of 2015 and dynamited two of its Roman-era temples, a triumphal arch and funeral towers.

It has reportedly left mines and bombs amid the ruins and smashed statues at the city museum.

Palmyra b&aIn response, Russia has announced that it will remove landmines from the ancient sites.

Syria’s Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums is optimistic that the destroyed ancient sites, which include the temples of Bel and Baal-Shamin, can be rebuilt within five years.

“More than 80 per cent of the antiquities in the territory of the museum preserve have survived and are in a satisfactory condition,” the directorate said in comments carried by Russian state news agency TASS.

The head of UNESCO’s emergency response unit, Giovanni Boccardi, said that the UN cultural organisation has provided 2.7 million euros ($A4.01 million) of funding for restoration.

See article about request for help + photo credit.

See article announcing help.

See photos of Palmyra before and after destruction + photo credit.

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