'Warrior Queen' statue erected in Syria in defiance of Islamic State

Statue stands as tribute to world heritage city of Palmyra

'Warrior Queen' Zenobia Statue Erected in Syria in Defiance of Islamic State

A statue of Queen Zenobia, the ancient Warrior Queen of Palmyra and a symbol of the UNESCO World Heritage city, was erected in the central Omayyad Square in Damascus, Syria on Sunday.

The statue of the third century Queen Zenobia and her chariot will stand at the square for four days as a tribute to the archaeological site of Palmyra in the east of the war-torn country, which is currently in the hands of Islamic State forces.

The statue will be set up next to another for Khaled al-Asaad, a prominent archeologist brutally murdered by IS in August.

The statues are part of 'From Palmyra to Damascus' - an arts project organised by the country's Ministry of Tourism. Tourism minister Bisher Yazigi said in a press statement that the statue proves that "life in Syria cannot be brought to a standstill despite raging war."

Islamic State forces targeting historical sites

IS forces have wrought havoc to the city of Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage site, recently flattening tower tombs by using large amounts of explosives and the Temple of Bel, which for nearly 2,000 years has been the centre of religious life in Palmyra.

The warrior queen is known for rebelling against Rome and nearly bringing the ancient empire to its knees. Her life has been celebrated in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Edward Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Her life story is bound up with the pre-Muhammad history of the Middle East that Islamic State militants are targeting.

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