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|A picture of the Temple of Bel taken in 2014 is held in front of what now remains of the historic temple after the occupation of Palmyra by the Islamic State group who viewed the UNESCO-listed site's magnificent ruins as idolatrous (AFP PhotoJoseph Eid) The remains of a statue in a street in Palmyra after Syrian troops backed by Russian forces recaptured the ancient Syrian city from jihadists (AFP PhotoJoseph Eid) A picture show the Temple of Bel taken in 2014 in front of the remains of the historic temple today Marwin Hitz World Cup Jersey , after it was destroyed by Islamic State (IS) group (AFP PhotoJoseph Eid) A picture shows the museum of Palmyra as it was in 2014 and what remains of the same spot after the Islamic State (IS) group occupied the ancient Syrian city (AFP PhotoJoseph Eid) The remains of the Temple of Bel in the historical city of Palmyra after it was blown up by Islamic State group jihadists (AFP Photo) Archaeologists are rushing to the ancient city of Palmyra to assess the damage wreaked by the Islamic State group (AFP PhotoMaher Al Mounes) Palmyra (Syria) - Jihadists have reduced several temples, columns and other treasures to heaps of stone in Syria's ancient city of Palmyra Johan Djourou World Cup Jersey , which archaeologists fear will never be fully restored to its former glory.
On the rocks at the entrance to the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel Haris Seferovic World Cup Jersey , jihadists have written in black: "The Islamic State. No entry for civilians or brothers (fighters)."
While the temple's outer walls, main entrance and courtyard have survived Granit Xhaka World Cup Jersey , the main cella or prayer chamber has been destroyed, according to AFP journalists who visited the world heritage site.
Ochre and beige-coloured blocks of stone that once formed the cella walls Gelson Fernandes World Cup Jersey , rooftop and eight 16-metre (52-foot) tall fluted columns now lie on the ground.
Syria's antiquities director Maamoun Abdulkarim says he is hopeful that part of the temple can be restored now that the jihadists have fled.
"Of course the Temple of Bel will never be the same. According to our experts, we will definitely be able to restore a third of the destroyed cella Francois Moubandje World Cup Jersey , or maybe even more if we carry out additional studies with UNESCO's help," Abdulkarim said.
"It will take five years of field work."
The city was recaptured on Sunday by Syrian and Russian troops who drove out IS jihadists who had occupied it for 10 months.
- World heritage -
In Palmyra's stunning Roman theatre Fabian Schar World Cup Jersey , jihadists have written their names on one wall while another is riddled with bullet marks.
It was at this second-century structure that the children of IS fighters were made to kill army soldiers in public executions.
Where the cella of the shrine of Baal Shamin once stood, only four columns now remain.
And the remains of the Arch of Triumph Fabian Frei World Cup Jersey , dating back to the era of Roman Emperor Severus in the third century, lie on the ground Eren Derdiyok World Cup Jersey , leaving only the two columns that once sustained the central crown still standing.
"It won't be complicated to restore it because all the building blocks are there and the arch had already been put back up in the 1930s," Abdulkarim said.