ISIS extremists beheaded one of Syria’s most prominent antiquities scholars in the ancient town of Palmyra, then hung his body from one of the town’s Roman columns, Syrian state media and an activist group said Wednesday.

The killing of 81-year-old Khaled al-Asaad was the latest atrocity perpetrated by the extremist group, which has captured a third of both Syria and neighboring Iraq and declared a self-styled “caliphate” on the territory it controls.

Since ISIS overran Palmyra in May, there have been fears the extremists, who have destroyed famed archaeological sites in Iraq, would demolish the 2,000-year-old Roman-era city at the edge of the town — a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the Mideast’s most spectacular archaeological sites.

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