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.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

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via KrustyKhajiit / YouTube

Thomas F. Wilson played one of the most recognizable villains in film history, Biff Tannen, in the "Back to the Future" series. So, understandably, he gets recognized wherever he goes for the iconic role.

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Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
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The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

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Sometimes a politician says or does something so brazenly gross that you have to do a double take to make sure it really happened. Take, for instance, this tweet from Lauren Witzke, a GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate from Delaware. Witzke defeated the party's endorsed candidate to win the primary, has been photographed in a QAnon t-shirt, supports the conspiracy theory that 9/11 was a U.S. government inside operation, and has called herself a flat earther.

So that's neat.

Witzke has also proposed a 10-year total halt on immigration to the U.S., which is absurd on its face, but makes sense when you see what she believes about immigrants. In a tweet this week, Witzke wrote, "Most third-world migrants can not assimilate into civil societies. Prove me wrong."

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via WatchMojo / YouTube

There are two conflicting viewpoints when it comes to addressing culture from that past that contains offensive elements that would never be acceptable today.

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