A city filled with ancient ruins was recaptured from ISIS. Here's what it looks like now.

Earlier this week, the Syrian army drove ISIS out of the city of Palmyra, which contains a spectacular set of ancient structures dating back nearly 2,000 years.

Palmyra after its recapture by the Syrian army. Photo by Maher al Mounes/Getty Images.


The UNESCO World Heritage Site was first captured by the militant group in May 2015.

These striking images, captured by photographer Maher al Mounes after the battle, show what remains of the historic site after nearly a year of ISIS occupation. The militant group has destroyed many monuments across Iraq and Syria that it considers blasphemous to its hard-line version of Islam.

Unsurprisingly, there's a fair bit of bad news — but also a lot of good.

ISIS initially promised it would level any parts of Palmyra that it deemed as promoting idolatry, but miraculously much of the old city is still standing.

Photo by Maher al Mounes/Getty Images.

That includes the city's citadel, which was the site of some of the fighting.

Photo by Stringer/AFP/Getty Images.

And these columns, lining a Roman-era street.

Photo by Maher al Mounes/Getty Images.

This stunning amphitheater remains largely intact.


Photo by Maher al Mounes/Getty Images.

Its magnificent entryway was, thankfully, spared as well.

Photo by Maher al Mounes/Getty Images.

Unfortunately, this entryway is all that remains of the Temple of Bel, a pre-Islamic house of worship from the first century AD, that ISIS leveled in September 2015.

Photo by Maher al Mounes/Getty Images.

The city's famous Triumphal Arch (Arc de Triomphe), which straddled a road that dates back to the Roman Empire, was also destroyed by the militant group.

Photo by Maher al Mounes/Getty Images.

While we celebrate the recapture — and mourn the loss — of the ancient city, it's important to note that this is what modern-day Palmyra and the towns surrounding it look like after 10 months of occupation and fighting:

Photo by Maher al Mounes/Getty Images.

According to NPR, most of the city's residents fled when it was overrun by ISIS last year. The rest were either killed or moved with ISIS deeper into its territory.

A U.N. analysis found that 11,000 people were displaced by the initial invasion, many of whom were forced to take shelter in neighboring towns.

Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, a staggering 4.8 million people have fled the country.

In the coming months, archeologists plan to assess the damage to the ancient city and see what can be restored.

Photo by Maher al Mounes/Getty Images.

Much of the historic site may be rebuilt, in time. Syrian director of antiquities Maamoun Abdelkarim recently told The Guardian that he believes his team has more than enough images and materials to reconstruct the city's temples.

Reversing the damage is going to take time, effort, and money — but many are joining the cause.

In addition to the Syrian government's efforts, groups around the world are pitching in. A Boston-based group of researchers has launched an international effort to build a master list of sites that are most at-risk and are soliciting donations to help fund their intervention.

And UNESCO has launched an awareness campaign to draw attention to the threat to Syria's major historic landmarks.

These are critically important steps. But all the awareness in the world could easily be for naught without an end to the violence in Syria.

Photo by Maher al Mounes/Getty Images.

Not just for its people, but its history as well.

More

Abigail Disney is the granddaughter of the late Roy Disney, the co-founder of the Walt Disney Co. Abigail herself does not have a job within the company, but she has made some public complaints about the way things are being run and how it is effecting the employees of the company.

Disney recently spoke on the Yahoo News show "Through Her Eyes," and shared a story of how a Magic Kingdom employee reached out to her about the poor working conditions at the theme park. So, Disney went to see for herself, and she did not like what she found.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Wellington District Police

Some animals have no respect for authority. Rogue penguins are disobeying the police in New Zealand, and they can't stop, won't stop.

Two little blue penguins were spotted at Sushi Bi near the Wellington railway station, allegedly trying to nest. The penguins had to cross through busy lanes of traffic running between the harbor and the sushi bar.

The dangerous duo was detained by the police, then released back into Wellington Harbour.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature

Netflix

How much of what we do is influenced by what we see on TV? When it comes to risky behavior, Netflix isn't taking any chances.

After receiving a lot of heat, the streaming platform is finally removing a controversial scenedepicting teen suicide in season one of "13 Reasons Why. The decision comes two years after the show's release after statistics reveal an uptick in teen suicide.

"As we prepare to launch season three later this summer, we've been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we've decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one," Netflix said in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
Magnific Eye / Unsplash

Los Angeles is experiencing a homeless epidemic that was years in the making.

Over the past six years, the unhoused population in the city has risen 75 percent. The city's lack of homeless shelters and affordable housing has forced many who can't afford L.A.'s sky-high rents to live on the streets.

According to LAist, since 2000, renter incomes have decreased by 3 percent while rents have gone up 32 percent.

While the city has launched a $100 million-per-year program to help the problem, rapper, entrepreneur, and actor Jaden Smith has found his own way of responding to the crisis: love.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities