Now that the forces of IS have been pushed out of Palmyra, the first journalists and photographers are able to reassert the extent of the destructions. They found much of the site intact and most of its famous artifacts untouched, it is said.
Yet, I wonder. Alright, the theater is still standing (because it was used as execution décor to kill the enemies of the jihadists) and at first sight, most of the columns on the main street are still standing, but the great and unique Temple of Bel has been blown to dust, as was the small and intimate Temple of Ball Shamin. Nothing but rubble remains from the most beautiful of all Tower Tombs, the one called Elahbel. Facts are being turned into figures and we should be happy that 80% of ancient Palmyra is still intact.
Should we rejoice because the destruction is not worse? Maybe so, but nothing can justify the annihilation of so much of our heritage and this once so great culture.
As to the local museum of Palmyra, it is too early to really assess the damage since most of the pieces seem to have been evacuated before the IS arrived, but still the pictures break my heart. For a well-illustrated overview, please click on this link to BBC News. Hereabove is a view of "before" and "after" (the after picture is from the BBC News)