The Islamic State (IS) extremist group has published photographs of militants destroying what it says are artifacts looted from the ancient ruins of Palmyra in central Syria.
The IS leadership in Aleppo Province posted photos online on July 2 showing several statues being hit with sledgehammers.
The group said they were statues from Palmyra which had been confiscated from a smuggler.
Syria’s antiquities director, Maamoun Abdelkarim, said the carved busts "appear to be eight statues stolen from the tombs in Palmyra."
He said the militants also destroyed a famous statue, known as the Lion of Al-Lat, outside Palmyra's museum last week.
IS fighters captures Palmyra in May, sparking fears that it might demolish the UNESCO World Heritage site as it has done with ancient sites in Iraq.
Last month, the IS group published photographs of what it said was the destruction of two Islamic shrines near Palmyra.
Based on reporting by AFP and the BBC