In this New York Times gallery, Bryan Denton travels to Palmyra, in Syria, on the heels of the Islamic State fighters that multiple other parties are eager to claim responsibility for ousting. He doesn’t spare the ghastly side of war in his photographs or his words. His focus on the ancient ruins is a side of the destruction we don’t normally see – with no thought to their significance, ISIS let the ancient sites be bombed and desecrated by mass killings. An ISIS official is quoted in the story as saying, “Our enemies are so stupid. We captured a whole town and houses from them, and they recaptured sand and destruction.”

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