Syria presidency in rare statement condemns destruction of ancient arch in IS-controlled city

The office of Syria's president is condemning the destruction of the 2,000 year old iconic arch in Palmyra by the Islamic militant group which controls the ancient city.

In a statement posted on its official Facebook page Monday, the presidency says the IS destruction of the arch is "revenge" of the civilization that "disrupts ... their darkness." The presidency described Palmyra, which in ancient times linked the Roman Empire to Persia and the East, as an integral part of the history of human civilization.

The rare statement comes hours after activists and government officials said the group had destroyed the arch — one of the most recognizable features of the city. IS seized Palmyra in May and has since destroyed two of its well-preserved ancient temples and other relics.