Maamoun Abdulkarim said his sources in Palmyra confirmed that the arch, a jewel in the exquisite collection of ruins in the oasis city, had been blown up on Sunday evening by the extremist group, Reuters reported.
In August, ISIL terrorists blew up two temples in the ancient city. If the city remains in their hands the city is doomed.
The Arch of Triumph, built by Septimius Severus between 193 and 211 AD has been described by the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO as a masterpiece of civil architecture and urban planning. It sits atop the colonnaded street that runs across Palmyra.
“This is a systematic destruction of the city”. “Several residents of Palmyra, whom we trust, have told us about it. ISIL has mined the amphitheater…They know that Syrian forces can not strike the historical monuments”.
Numerous airstrikes, often followed by government attacks, have largely targeted insurgents in the northwestern and central parts of Syria – which are adjacent to strongholds of President Bashar Assad on the Mediterranean cost.
In a statement posted on its official Facebook page, the presidency said the IS destroyed the arch “to avenge the light that disrupted their ignorance and darkness…”
The iconic Arch of Triumph was situated at the entrance to Palmyra’s historic colonnaded street which linked the Roman Empire to Persia.
In a statement, the group said ISIS’ latest move only shows that they are “terrified” of history because a deeper understanding of the events in the past will only prove that their acts of violence are unjustified.
The group considers the buildings sacrilegious.
Analyst Charlie Winter of the London-based Quilliam Foundation think tank said such destruction was a “low-risk, cheap” way for IS to raise its profile among potential new recruits and grab headlines.
Since rushing to power across parts of Syria and Iraq a year ago, Isil have tried to turn back the clock on Syrian and Iraqi history, systematically erasing signs of their pluralistic ancient heritage.
Activists on a Facebook page from the city were despondent at the world reaction to Palmyra’s destruction, warning that al-Assad should not be viewed as the city’s saviour.
The jihadists have also used the city’s Roman theatre as the site of a mass execution of captured government troops.