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UNESCO: Ruins in Ancient Syrian City Still Authentic

This photo released pm March 28, 2016, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows some damage at the ancient ruins of Palmyra, central Syria.

The United Nations cultural agency says the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra retains much of its authenticity despite the extensive damage it has sustained at the hands of Islamic State fighters.

Representatives of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) issued a preliminary report after completing a two-day inspection of Palmyra's ancient ruins.

"The mission considered that, despite the destruction of several iconic edifices, the archaeological site of Palmyra retains a large part of its integrity and authenticity," UNESCO said in a statement.

Museum damage

UNESCO experts, accompanied by U.N. security, inspected the Palmyra museum and the archaeological site. They found considerable damage to many of the museum's statues and sarcophagi that were too large to be removed for safekeeping.

At the archeological site, the experts found parts of an ancient avenue and courtyard were intact.

The inspectors devoted a minute of silence to the victims who were murdered at the Roman Amphitheater, which IS used for public executions.

The cultural agency will have another team of experts conduct a more thorough examination of the ancient city before recommending preservation measures. UNESCO will present its full report on the site in July to the World Heritage Committee annual meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.

IS held Palmyra, northeast of the capital of Damascus, for nearly a year before it was recaptured by Syrian forces last month.

In pictures - The ancient city of Palmyra