In closing in on the Syrian city of Palmyra, ISIL militants captured Khaled al-Assad, who worked for 50 years as an antiquities scholar, reports Maamun Abdulkarim, Head of the Syrian Office for the Protection of Monuments citing the Assad family.

In May 2015 the ISIL militants seized the cultural capital of Syria - Palmyra. During the four days after the capture more than 400 people were killed.

Being famous for its ancient monuments and architectural sights, which were found during excavations in the early 20th century and are maintained to this day, Palmyra is in the UNESCO World Heritage List. According to the latest reports, the militants have mined the ancient architectural structures.