ST. PETERSBURG, March 28. /TASS/. UNESCO has established a foundation for restoration of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra destroyed by the Islamic State (IS) terrorists, Russia’s UNESCO envoy Eleonora Mitrofanova, told the Rossiya-24 TV channel on Tuesday.
"Member countries assign money to the UNESCO foundation for Syria," Mitrofanova said. "Palmyra’s restoration will be financed from non-budgetary funding. Currently the foundation has accumulated some 2.7 million euro, including 2.5 million euro from the European Union countries."
According to Mitrofanova, for the four years of military actions about 300 cultural sites were destroyed from the 10,000 of existing sites.
On March 31, UNESCO experts will consider a plan of restoration of Palmyra in Paris headquarters.
Palmyra, located in the Syrian Desert between Damascus and the Euphrates, was one of the richest cities of antiquity. Tradition suggests that the biblical King Solomon founded the city.
UNESCO declared the remains of its once majestic temples and buildings world cultural heritage sites in 1980.
IS militants who seized Palmyra last May destroyed several most ancient monuments, including the 2,000-year old statue of the Lion of al-Lat, the temple of Baal Shamin built during the Roman rule in the 1st century AD, and the temple of Bel, the largest edifice on the compound that was erected during the reign of Emperor Tiberius in 32 AD.
The terrorists also beheaded the 80-year-old Dr. Haled al-Asaad, one of the most famous Syrian archeologists who devoted his whole life to the studies of Palmyra heritage.
On March 27, the Syrian army took back the control over Palmyra.