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IS Destroys Ancient Monastery In Syria

The Islamic State (IS) group has reportedly demolished an ancient monastery and church in a central Syrian town.

IS militants posted photos on social media sites showing bulldozers destroying the 5th-century Mar Elian Monastery on August 21 near the town of Al-Qaryatain, in Homs Province.

IS had captured the town on August 5 and kidnapped some 230 people, including dozens of Christians.

Nearly 50 of those captured were later released and more than 100 taken to Raqqa Province, an IS stronghold. The fate of the others is unknown.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict in Syria, also reported the destruction of the monastery.

A Christian clergyman told AP in Damascus that IS militants also leveled a church inside the monastery that was a few hundred years older than the monastery.

Since capturing parts of Syria and Iraq, IS fighters have destroyed Shi'ite mosques, churches, statues, tombs of famous Muslims and Christians, and archaeological sites.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa