Isis Palmyra destruction
Islamic State (Isis) presses on with its 'cultural cleansing' by destroying 2,000-year old Roman-era Arch of Triumph in historic Syrian city of Palmyra Gustau Nacarino/Reuters

Islamic State (Isis) continues with its "cultural cleansing" policy by destroying historically significant symbols in the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra. The latest addition to the list is the destruction of Roman era's Arch of Triumph, which is thought to be at least 2,000 years old.

Syria's antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim has told multiple news outlets that local sources have confirmed the Unesco-heritage site was completely destroyed. "According to the sources in the city, ISIL militants destroyed the Arch of Triumph in the historic part of Palmyra. This tragedy was expected after terrorists blew up two temples of Bel and Baalshamin, as well as ancient tombs," Abdulkarim told Sputnik International.

Calling it a "very big loss for the history," the directory-general of Syria's antiquities and museums added: "What we are witnessing today is a thoughtful script, according to which the city of Palmyra will be razed to the ground."

The London-based monitoring group, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, has also confirmed the site has been ruined. IS considers the historic ruins as sacrilegious and has been destroying the Unesco-protected sites since the Islamists captured the city in May 2015.

In August, the militants blew up two temples - the Temple of Baal Shamin and the Temple of Bel. The 82-year-old archaeologist, Khaled al-Asaad, who had been the city's custodian, was also tortured and beheaded by the jihadists.

The director-general of Unesco, Irina Bokova, said the atrocities in Palmyra carried out the Sunni insurgent group "is an impudent crime against civilisation because it was a symbol of cultural dialogue, a material proof of the ability of cultures to interact... This is what the extremists are seeking to destroy."