Maamoun Abdulkarim, Syria’s antiquities chief, says that with UNESCO’s approval Palmyra could be restored in five years.

According to the antiquities chief approximately 80% of the ruins are in good shape. Experts are due to arrive in Palmyra next week to begin documenting the damage properly, before restoration can begin.

Isis apparently destroyed the shrine of Baal Shamin, and in September, they demolished the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel and a month later blew up the Arch of Triumph, dating from around 200 AD and then destroyed a dozen of the city’s best-preserved tower tombs.

Annie Sartre-Fauriat, the Syrian expert for UNESCO, has a somewhat different opinion saying that she is “very doubtful about the capacity, even with international aid, of rebuilding the site at Palmyra.”  she continued “When I hear that we are going to reconstruct the temple of Bel, that seems illusory… We are not going to rebuild something that has been reduced to dust. Rebuild what? A new temple?”