Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said IS on Sunday "tied three individuals it had arrested from Palmyra and its outskirts to the columns... and executed them by blowing up" three columns. Khaled al-Homsi, an activist from Palmyra, said IS had yet to inform local residents who the executed individuals were or why they had been killed.
"There was no one there to see (the execution). The columns were destroyed and IS has prevented anyone from heading to the site," Homsi told AFP yesterday. Since the jihadists seized Palmyra from regime forces in May, they have destroyed multiple sites and historic artefacts, including its celebrated temples of Bel and Baal Shamin as well as several funerary towers.
IS has used Palmyra's grand amphitheatre for a massacre in which child members of the group killed 25 Syrian soldiers, execution-style, in front of residents. It also beheaded Palmyra's 82-year-old former antiquities director in August. Palmyra's ruins are on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and before the war around 150,000 tourists a year visited the town.