Syrian authorities believe they have found the remains of a famed archaeologist who was beheaded by Islamic State militants in Palmyra in 2015, reportedly after refusing to divulge the location of the site’s hidden treasures.
One of three bodies recently recovered from an area outside the Palmyra was thought to be that of Khaled al-Asaad, the longtime director of antiquities in the ancient city, state news outlet Sana reported on Sunday.
In August 2015 Asaad was publicly executed in a local square in Palmyra, months after IS militants overran the strategic oasis city in Syria’s eastern desert. The crime made global headlines as the urbane Asaad had served as the custodian of the Unesco world heritage site for over half a century, receiving numerous awards and accolades in Syria and abroad.
The octogenarian antiquities scholar was born in Palmyra and had remained in the city after the IS takeover to attempt to preserve its heritage.
IS militants detained Asaad for over a month before his murder, his family said.
The group was earning millions from looting and smuggling artefacts at the time and Syria’s antiquities minister said they had killed him after trying to extract information about the whereabouts of the city’s hidden treasure.
Read more: yahoo